San Francisco Ballet in class during World Ballet Day 2016. Photo Courtesy SFB.

Missed World Ballet Day 2018? Catch Up Now!

Here at Pointe, every day feels like World Ballet Day, though the official 2018 event took place on Tuesday. While WBD is a thrill for any bunhead, it can also be overwhelming. How are you supposed to sit in front of your computer all day when you have class and rehearsal and work and a life? We get it, and we're here to help.

To give you a chance to catch up, we've rounded up WBD videos from 26 companies. So grab some popcorn, a backlog of pointe shoes to sew, and settle in. If you start watching now, you might just be done in time for WBD 2019.


The Royal Ballet, London

This year, WBD was organized a little bit differently. Three official companies—The Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet and The Royal Ballet—produced full five-hour streams (though unfortunately the Bolshoi's is no longer available for viewing). Then WBD invited guest companies from all over the world to join in with their own half hour to hour-long additions.

The Royal Ballet is the official co-producer of WBD, so it's only fitting to start with them. This expertly-produced segment includes the entirety of company class, rehearsals and interviews with dancers including Marianela Nuñez and Beatriz Stix-Brunell. This year, the company focused on their female choreographers, which includes a short profile on Charlotte Edmonds, The Royal's inaugural Young Choreographer.

The Australian Ballet, Melbourne

The Australian Ballet usually starts their WBD streams off with a fun intro, and this year is no different. Australian comedy actress Tegan Higginbotham, our host for the day, catches the tram to the theater in a full platter tutu (keep your eyes on the faces of the passerby). The rest of the five-hour stream features company class and rehearsals of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Coppélia and The Australian Ballet's new production of Spartacus.

National Ballet of Japan, Tokyo 

From the official WBD companies, we now move on to their guests. We'll start in Asia and Australia and then move to mainland Europe, the United Kingdom and finally the United States and Cuba. First up is the National Ballet of Japan. On the shorter end of WBD offerings, two company dancers give us a glimpse into the start of class.

Queensland Ballet, Brisbane

This hour-long video follows Queensland Ballet on tour in Melbourne where they're dancing Liam Scarlett's A Midsummer Night's Dream as well as rehearsals back in the company's home in Brisbane.

Melbourne Academy of the Arts, Cheltenham

Back in Australia, we see a staged dress rehearsal of Sleeping Beauty with the Australian National Youth Ballet.

West Australian Ballet, Maylands

West Australian Ballet artistic director Aurélien Scannella shares a bit about the company, and then takes viewers into a rehearsal with choreographer Garry Stewart.

Norwegian National Ballet, Oslo

Congrats! You've made it to Europe. Norwegian National Ballet artistic director Ingrid Lorentzen introduces the company and what they're up to. She even pulls dancer Silas Henriksen out of class to ask him about his recent promotion to principal. The stream also features rehearsals from Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Manon with guest artist Maria Kochetkova.

Royal Danish Ballet, Copenhagen

Any dance history fans out there? This one's for you. Royal Danish Ballet artistic director Nikolaj Hübbe narrates a rehearsal of Bournonville's Napoli in the very studio where Bournonville choreographed his masterwork in 1842. The rehearsal features RDB principals Holly Dorger and Jonathan Chmelensky.

Bayerisches Staatsballett, Munich

This is Bayerisches Staatsballett's first time participating in WBD. Catch principals Ksenia Ryzhkova, Osiel Gouneo and guest artist Sergei Polunin in a rehearsal of Raymonda.

Stuttgart Ballet, Stuttgart

Stuttgart Ballet's contributions focuses on the men of the company. Watch them rehearse John Cranko's 1966 Concerto for Flute and Harp.

Winer Staatsballett, Vienna

Vienna-based Winer Staatsballett takes viewers into a rehearsal of Sylvia.

Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam

Dutch National Ballet gives us a glimpse inside a rehearsal of La Dame aux Camélias, followed by interviews with some of the company's principal dancers.

Royal Swedish Ballet, Stockholm 

Royal Swedish Ballet rehearses for an upcoming mixed bill performance with special focus on a world premiere by Lukas Timulak. *Note that the video doesn't start until minute nine.

Paris Opéra Ballet, Paris

From the beautiful Palais Garnier, Paris Opéra Ballet gives us a peek into rehearsal for John Neumeier's La Dame aux camélias and Jerome Robbins A Suite of Dances with étoiles Léonore Baulac, Mathieu Ganio and Mathias Heymann.

Polish National Ballet, Warsaw

Polish National Ballet gives viewers a full tour of the theater, which includes one of the largest stages in Europe (according to company dancers this is both a blessing and a curse). The tour also includes the company's physical therapy room and a rehearsal of Swan Lake.

Scottish Ballet, Glasgow

The above video shows Scottish Ballet in company class. They also live streamed a rehearsal with choreographer Helen Pickett; see it here.

Birmingham Royal Ballet, Birmingham

Birmingham Royal Ballet dancers Céline Gittens, Mathias Dingman and Brandon Lawrence join choreographer Juanjo Arqués in a rehearsal for his work Ignite.

English National Ballet, London

Watch English National Ballet in rehearsal for Manon.

Royal Academy of Dance, London

English National Ballet dancer Shevelle Dynott gives viewers a full tour of the RAD headquarters and describes many of the organization's programs taking place around the world. First up, see two of the recent Genée International Ballet Competition medalists in rehearsals: gold medalist Monet Hewitt has just joined the English National Ballet School, and silver medalist Basil James has just joined The Royal Ballet Upper School.

Northern Ballet, Leeds

Northern Ballet's live stream includes an interview with choreographer Cathy Marston on Victoria, her upcoming ballet based on the life of Queen Victoria. Also, watch for a clip of dancers sword fighting in a castle...you won't be disappointed.

Acosta Danza, Havana

Carlos Acosta introduces this day-in-the-life video of his Havana-based company, Acosta Danza.

Houston Ballet, Houston

In exciting news for the company, Houston Ballet brings fans back into the Wortham Center after a year-and-a-half long absence due to destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey. Principal Jessica Collado hosts, leading viewers through company class and Houston Ballet II class, as well as rehearsals for Jerome Robbins' Fancy Free and The Cage, and Swan Lake, which the company will bring to Dubai later this month.

Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle

Meanwhile, in Seattle, watch Pacific Northwest Ballet run through nearly the entirety of Jerome Robbins' Dances at a Gathering.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, New York

This year, WBD broadened their parameters by welcoming Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater into the mix. See inside their rehearsals of Rennie Harris' Lazarus and Ronald K. Brown's The Call.

Still haven't had enough? There's more! Royal New Zealand Ballet and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal's streams are exclusively available on their FB pages. Click here and here to watch them now.

Latest Posts


The author, Lucy Van Cleef, dancing Balanchine's Serenade at Los Angeles Ballet. Reed Hutchinson, Courtesy Los Angeles Ballet

My 12-Year Journey to a Bachelor’s Degree While Dancing Professionally

If you'd have told me in 2009 that it would take 12 years to earn my bachelor's degree, I never would have believed you. Back then, I was a dancer in my early 20s and in my second year with Los Angeles Ballet. I was used to the straightforward demands of the professional ballet world. I knew that hard work and willpower were the currency you paid in the studio, and that the thrill of live performance made all that investment worth it. What I didn't know then is how life's twists and turns aren't always so straightforward. In hindsight, I can see how my winding road to higher education has strengthened me—and my relationship with the ballet world—more than I ever could have imagined.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Margaret Severin-Hansen, teaches class at Carolina Ballet's summer intensive. Cindy McEnery, Courtesy Carolina Ballet

7 Tips for Making the Most of Your Summer Intensive

Last summer many intensives were canceled or online-only. And the past school year has been spotty and strange for many, as well. All the more reason to look forward to an in-person summer program this year with excitement—but also, perhaps, some nerves. Take heart, says Simon Ball, men's program coordinator at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. "Once you get there the first day, all those fears will be relieved."

Here, Ball and two other experts share their advice for how to make the most of this precious opportunity to dive deep into dance—and how to handle complications that may get in the way, like injury and drama.

1. Show Off...Your Work Ethic

Summer intensives offer a preview of company life: You'll be dancing in a variety of styles over the course of the day, and all day, everyday. But that doesn't mean you have to be company-ready on day one! Though the first day may be filled with placement classes, try not to approach every class as an audition. "This year has taught us that the work is the important thing," says Ball. "Let go of trying to impress. The best impression I ever receive as a teacher is when I see someone receptive to doing things differently, even if that means taking one step backwards initially, to be able to take two steps forward by the end of the summer."

Angelica Generosa, a principal with Pacific Northwest Ballet, clearly made a splash during her first of three summers at the Chautauqua Institution's School of Dance. At 14, she was cast to dance the pas de deux from Balanchine's Stars and Stripes in the final performance. Generosa describes her younger self as "very eager." She'll be a guest teacher at Chautauqua this summer, and says that a similar eagerness catches her attention: "Dedication, and willingness to try. That twinkle in the eyes when a step is really challenging."

2. Make Friends

Even if friends from your year-round school will be with you this summer, branch out. During breaks at the studio, you may be tempted to spend time on your phone. "Take your headphones off," suggests Margaret Severin-Hansen, director of Carolina Ballet's summer intensive. "Share that ballet video with the person sitting next to you! Their eyes might see it differently; you could learn something. Or find that you have other things in common, too."

Do things outside the studio, too, even if your social circle is limited for safety reasons to a "pod" of classmates. "Sign up for activities," says Generosa. Go on that weekend shopping trip, or out for ice cream. "Be open," she says. "These are people you might see along the way in your future."

Simon Ballet, wearing dark clothing, is shown from behind demonstrating ecart\u00e9 arms while in front of him, a class of teenage ballet students perform d\u00e9velopp\u00e9 ecart\u00e9 devant on pointe in a medium-size studio. The dancers, all girls, wear leotards, pink tights and pointe shoes.

Simon Ball leads class at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.

Courtesy CPYB

3. Stay Healthy

"The first week is tough—you're going to be sore," says Ball. "Prepare yourself." He means that literally. Before your program begins, ramp up cross-training, especially cardio to build your stamina. Severin-Hansen recommends you also keep dancing. It no longer matters that your regular school might be on break: We now know it's possible to take virtual classes from home or in a rented studio. If you're on pointe, make sure to put the shoes on every day, at the very least for some relevés. Keep the skin on your toes tough; the last thing you want is to be sidelined by blisters.

If you are recovering from an injury or managing something persistent like tendonitis, take action even further in advance. Find out if your intensive provides access to physical therapy, and if not, make a plan before you leave home. Learn exercises and massage techniques that you can do on your own, and ask about virtually checking in with your regular doctor or PT. Once you arrive, says Ball, communicate with your instructors. "Chances are it's a common ballet injury that teachers understand. They'll be able to help you."

During her summer intensives, Generosa often suffered flare-ups of inflammation. "I knew the tendonitis in my knees was from over turning out, and in my ankles from lifting my heels in plié." She was able to alleviate some of her pain by dancing more thoughtfully, addressing those habits. She also got creative about taking care of her tendons during off-hours. "I basically did ice baths in Chautauqua Lake."

4. Deal With Disappointment Constructively

Whether you're placed in a lower level than you'd like or were hoping for a soloist role that went to someone else, disappointment is understandable. Try, on your part, to understand too. The faculty may believe you'll thrive more in that particular group, or see a technical issue better solved by not pushing you too fast. If you're not sure exactly what you should be working on, ask. "Trust that you can make the most of your experience, whatever level you're in," says Ball. "Don't be afraid of the conversation."

5. Avoid Drama

Competition is inevitable, but unproductive competition is unnecessary, and bullying unacceptable. Severin-Hansen lays down a very clear guideline: "Nobody should ever feel uncomfortable." If you hear or see anything that bothers you—whether directed at you or someone else—don't hesitate to speak up. "If there's even one person creating drama, you feel it in the class. Summer is short. There's no room for that." Tell the resident advisor in the dorms, or bring the problem to the school administration.

Angelica Generosa performs an arabessque elong\u00e9 on pointe while her partner stands behind her holding her waist and with his left leg in tendu. She holds her left hand on her hip and extends her right arm out to the side with her palm up. Angelica wears a purple leotard, black tights and a white Romantic tutu while Kyle wears a yellow shirt, black tights and tan slippers.

Pacific Northwest Ballet principal Angelica Generosa (shown here in rehearsal with Kyle Davis) made notes of corrections she'd received and variations she'd worked on during her summer intensives to help retain what she had learned.

Lindsay Thomas, Courtesy PNB

6. Fuel the Long Day

Depending on your housing arrangement this summer, you may be on your own for buying or preparing your own meals. Generosa recalls her first time living in a dorm and eating cafeteria food: "I wanted to try everything: pizza, chicken tenders, the salad bar, the dessert section—that was also my introduction to coffee." She found, however, that caffeine and sugar rushes would give way to energy crashes, and soon enough her better knowledge prevailed. "I told myself, 'Angelica, get your protein, vegetables, complex carbs—the right kind of energy.'"

Masking requirements may make snacking at the studios slightly more difficult. Nonetheless, there will almost certainly be somewhere you can safely have a nibble in between classes, whether that's a dancers' lounge or socially distanced in the studio itself. Make sure you always have something with you that's easy to munch on during breaks. Ball recommends protein bars or fruits and veggies. "Hydrating is huge," he adds, and suggests bringing packets of powdered electrolyte supplements to add to your water.

7. Retain Corrections

Take a moment each evening, Severin-Hansen advises, to write a few things down. "Say the whole class got a general correction, like 'Use your head.' The person who takes notes will think about it: 'When could I have used my head?' It's all about how you come back the next day and improve."

Generosa set a goal for herself to get better every day. To accomplish this, she would stay late to practice, she says, "so my body could adjust to what I was trying to achieve in that class." If you're inclined to follow her example, ask a friend to practice with you. You can film each other to get a glimpse of your own progress.

At the end of her Chautauqua summers, Generosa made notes of some things she had worked on and which variations she'd learned. "Then it wasn't like I left and that was that. I brought the summer experience with me, for my whole year."

Michael Cousmano, AKA Madame Olga. Courtesy When I'm Her

New Documentary "When I’m Her" Shows How Madame Olga’s Positive Affirmations Can Transform Ballet

Michael "Mikey" Cusumano was a rising star at American Ballet Theatre in the 1990s, joining the company at 15 years old and dancing principal roles by age 16. But the high pressure of ballet proved detrimental to his emotional and mental well-being. "I couldn't find the joy in ballet anymore," says Cusumano.

After 10 years as a professional ballet dancer, Cusumano transitioned to Broadway, where his alter ego, a sparkly-turban–wearing Russian ballet instructor named Madame Olga, was able to fully emerge. In Madame Olga, Cusumano became the ballet teacher he wished he had growing up. While Olga's classes feature the same technical rigor as any other intermediate-advanced ballet class, they also incorporate her signature humor and positive affirmations. It's common for Madame Olga's students to vocalize those affirmations while dancing (for example, saying "love" out loud while doing an adagio combination).

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks