The hard work, creativity and passion that underpins ballet will be centre stage for all to see today during the first ever World Ballet Day.
This global online event is offering unprecedented access to a regular day at five leading international ballet companies. Fans will go behind the scenes at The Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada and San Francisco Ballet thanks to a live video stream. The collaboration is the first of its kind.
Unsurprisingly, balletomanes everywhere cannot wait to journey from country to country and glimpse the backstage lives of their favourite dancers.
Each of the five ballet companies will take it in turns to broadcast live from their headquarters for four hours. Streaming will start at the beginning of the dancers’ day, with class. The live link will begin in Melbourne with The Australian Ballet, before passing across time zones to visit Moscow. We will then spend time in London, stop off in Toronto and, finally, conclude our day in San Francisco.
As part of this celebration of dance, we will see how vital the daily ballet class is to everyone – from the principal dancers to the corps de ballet members. We will also gain a deeper insight into how the companies’ differing ways of approaching choreography and performance make them unique on the world stage.
Wherever you happen to be in the world, a ballet class follows the same progression of exercises. It begins with focused sequences at the barre before progressing to the more elaborate and explosive routines danced in the centre. Ballet class also demands the same dedication from participants, wherever you dance. Quite simply, you get out of a class what you put into it.
This concentrated effort is a sterling attitude to have in life beyond the studio and I strive to mirror this discipline in everything I do. Ballet has always been a big part of my world and the technology that is enabling World Ballet Day to take place is responsible for a lot of the ways that my interest in dance is able to keep evolving on a global scale.
Of course, writing here on my own site is in itself giving me a platform to share my enthusiasm. Similarly, being the UK blog writer for Ballet Papier offers me ample opportunity to contribute ideas and words to a community of arts lovers that spans the globe. With pearls of wisdom such as “ballet is the passion that unites us”, Ballet Papier recognises that a love of dance can break down barriers and cross all borders.
Recently, too, I have started to make more connections with other writers online, including Germaine Shames. Without the ballet theme of her book You, Fascinating You and the power of the internet for facilitating the sharing of knowledge and work, I would never have engaged with her. Nor would I have been able to see The Royal Ballet’s The Winter’s Tale without the live cinema screenings the Royal Opera House now includes each season.
The latest news in my corner of the world is that I have been accepted to study at the Royal Academy of Dance. The Royal Academy of Dance is one of the world’s most influential dance education organisations and a global leader in continuing professional development in dance. Having thrived as a young dancer taking classical ballet examinations with the Royal Academy of Dance, I am now completing a programme of study through which I can become a teacher myself.
I envisage that pursuing this course with the Royal Academy of Dance will further bolster my dance writing and allow me to explore the positive impact of dance on individuals and society. Dance has a worldwide appeal and the RAD is instrumental in educating teachers in the best way to keep dance’s heritage alive so I am certainly in good company. Moreover, I know for a fact that having more ballet in my world is always a good idea!
If you share my belief that ballet makes the world a better place to be, then you will not want to miss out on the World Ballet Day live broadcast today. Equally, please do return to read more of my writing and consider getting in touch with me if you have something to say about ballet, dance and the arts!
*Illustrations by Ballet Papier artist Berenice.
Georgina Butler is an editor, a dance writer and a ballet teacher.