POST 219: Work ballet day

World Ballet Day 

 World Ballet Day was back on Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Since 2014, the live broadcasts have brought together reputable companies from all over the world for an annual celebration of Dance.  The broadcasts show technique classes, rehearsals and backstage preparations.

Last year, the event pulled in more than 350,000 viewers from 150 countries.

The Royal Ballet in class during World Ballet Day 2015 (screenshot via YouTube)

This year’s featured companies are The Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, and San Francisco Ballet.

This year each of the five partner companies have invited a whole slew of nearby regional dance organizations to participate in their World Ballet Day broadcasts. The list: Hong Kong Ballet, Queensland Ballet, West Australian Ballet, English National Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Scottish Ballet, Northern Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Houston Ballet, Boston Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Ballets du Monte Carlo and Dutch National Ballet.


You can get involved, too. On the day of the broadcast, chat with other ballet fans as you watch the broadcast at, and submit questions for the dancers using the hashtag #worldballetday on Twitter.  2016

recordings of the 2015 broadcast.


I did not watch the full 24 hours but I did look at break and lunchtime and before I went to work: Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet and The Royal Ballet.

The internet connection was better than last year and I was impressed that other companies got air time, even if that meant their portions were prerecorded.

This year, each company  was introduced so that you could tell the difference between them. There was a lot of Swan Lake. And plenty of Wayne McGregor- quite happy with that as I know one of the boys from Laban who is in his company and I am an avid watcher of McGregors Dance-Science links.

Ballet is similar unless the context in which it is delivered is very different. Noticing the differences are what makes watching online interesting.

  • The Australian Ballet had crisp and clean swans (I watched the footage after it aired),
  • The Bolshoi’s more depressed version
  • David Dawson’s contemporary creatures at Scottish Ballet gave the basic rep but also insight into the company’s technical and artistic refinements.

It was the technique, the alignment, the muscle tone and the insight to the inner workings of a company that was my main focus.

Ballet company differences:

  • National Ballet of Canada dancers’ family-like.
  • Bolshoi was business-like.
  • Royal’s ballet teachers picked apart the tiniest details, after what seemed like every eight counts, demanding technical perfection.
  • San Francisco Ballet’s Helgi Tomasson practiced whole sections of Giselle before giving notes, and corrections dealt mainly with moving through space.

Some other highlights:

  1. MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet by The Royal Ballet, particularly the balcony scene.
  2. Is there a new language forming in contemporary ballet? McGregor has a whole sound effect language.
  3. Boston Ballet did Pas de Quatredespite its battle of the ballerinas beginnings (something I later practiced with the kids)—is is happier and deceptively complex.
  4. Mark Morris is secretive and like one of my teachers put paper over the windows.
  5. Sofiane Sylve did two times through the demanding role of Myrtha with different casts of Giselle.

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