Watch Dutch National Ballet in Virtual Reality

Dutch National Ballet principals Anna Tsygankova and Artur Shesterikov. Photo by Michel Schnater, via Twitter.

Ballet has officially entered the 21st century. While more companies are using cinema or live-streaming to bring their performances to the masses, Dutch National Ballet has gone a step further. Last weekend, in a collaboration with &samhoud media and Chester Music, the company premiered its first virtual reality production. Night Fall, a dreamy ballet inspired by the white acts of Swan Lake and La Bayadère, was choreographed specifically for virtual reality by Peter Leung. Viewers are dropped right in the center of the action, with the dancers and a lone musician swirling around them.

 

The effect is goose bump-worthy: At one point, principal dancer Anna Tsygankova rushes right up to the camera—almost within arm’s reach—before she bourrées back into the darkness. Not only that, but the 360 degree camera allows you to have more than one, flat perspective. “The fact that [viewers] can look around and have some choice in what they look at will make it a unique experience,” says Leung in this behind-the-scenes video.

 

The downside? You need to wear a Samsung Gear VR headset or strap your smartphone to a Cardboard to get the full effect. But even without these devices, it’s fun to see where the future of ballet is going—especially if it means bringing in more audiences. For instructions on how to watch Night Fall, click here.

 

For more news on all things ballet, don’t miss a single issue.

News
Gene Schiavone, Courtesy Boston Ballet

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've rounded up some highlights.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by BLOCH
Courtesy BLOCH

Today's ballet dancer needs a lot from a pointe shoe. "What I did 20 years ago is not what these dancers are doing now," says New York City Ballet shoe manager Linnette Roe. "They are expected to go harder, longer days. They are expected to go from sneakers, to pointe shoes, to character shoes, to barefoot and back to pointe shoes all in a day."

The team at BLOCH developed their line of Stretch Pointe shoes to address dancer's most common complaints about the fit and performance of their pointe shoes. "It's a scientific take on the pointe shoe," says Roe. Dancers are taking notice and Stretch Pointe shoes are now worn by stars like American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who stars in BLOCH's latest campaign for the shoes.

We dug into the details of Stretch Pointe's most game-changing features:

Keep reading... Show less
Lindsay Martell at a class performance. Courtesy Martell.

More than once, when I'm sporting my faded, well-loved ballet hoodie, some slight variation of this conversation ensues:

"Is your daughter the dancer?"

"Actually," I say, "I am."

"Wow!" they enthuse. "Who do you dance with? Or have you retired...?"

"I don't dance with a company. I'm not a professional. I just take classes."

Insert mic drop/record scratch/quizzical looks.

Keep reading... Show less
News
Kevin Lloyd Photography, Courtesy Ballet Jörgen

Canada's Ballet Jörgen is committed to telling Canadian stories by Canadian choreographers. For its next full-length ballet, director Bengt Jörgen turned to what he calls "perhaps the most quintessential Canadian story" of all time: Lucy Maud Montgomery's beloved 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables, about the flame-haired, precocious orphan Anne Shirley. Jörgen is choreographing the work, which will debut in Halifax, Nova Scotia (not far from Anne's fictional home in Avonlea, Prince Edward Island), on September 28 before embarking on a two-year tour of Canada and the U.S.

Keep reading... Show less