An update on the 2021 World Ballet Day

With close to 50 global companies taking part, this year’s celebration will be the biggest yet, offering unique behind-the-scenes access to ballet’s biggest stars and emerging performers.

The line-up includes nine companies joining for the first time, alongside American Ballet Theatre, Paris Opera Ballet, The National Ballet of Japan and Cape Town City Ballet.

In a World Ballet Day first, participating companies will be encouraging audiences to take part in the Jump for Joy challenge. For a chance to be featured on the day, viewers will be asked to share a video of themselves performing their favourite celebratory dance move. No ballet experience is necessary, and any content should be shared using World Ballet Day.

Following a combined six hours’ worth of digital content from The Australian Ballet and the Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet’s five-hour live stream will commence at 11am BST.

Opening with a morning class, the day will also offer previews of rehearsals and exclusive behind-the-scenes content from some of this season’s hotly-anticipated productions – including Peter Wright’s Giselle and Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet.

Later in the day, The Royal Ballet will livestream a section from the stage and piano rehearsal for Wayne McGregor’s new ballet, The Dante Project inspired by Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy, the production will receive its world premiere on 14 October, marking 700 years since the poet’s death.

From The Australian Ballet, audiences can expect a full class, complete with commentary by artistic director, David Hallberg, followed by rehearsals for Harlequinade, I New Then and Romeo and Juliet. The three-hour segment, streamed from Melbourne, will also include a tour of the costume production department and an introduction to the company’s educational and outreach projects.

The Bolshoi’s three-hour programme will be hosted by ballet soloists Artyom Ovcharenko and Ana Turazashvili. Pre-recorded content will include a morning class followed by rehearsals for Orlando, La Bayadere, Don Quixote and Pharaoh’s Daughter, all intercut with live interviews conducted in the historic foyer of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.

Kevin O’Hare, director of The Royal Ballet, said: ‘World Ballet Day is a time to celebrate dance, and now, more than ever, it’s important that we come together with our global family to provide dancers and audience members across the world with a sense of solidarity – bringing us together despite the challenges we have faced over the last year.’

David Hallberg, artistic director of The Australian Ballet said: ‘I am honoured to be a part of my first World Ballet Day as artistic director of The Australian Ballet. We cherish this annual opportunity to join forces with The Royal Ballet and the Bolshoi Ballet, companies that I have known well throughout my dancing career. I look forward to opening our studio doors and giving everyone a glimpse into the life of our compelling artists. We can’t wait to connect with our loyal audiences and show them how we have persevered through these times.’

Makhar Vaziyev, artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet, said: ‘World Ballet Day gives audiences around the world a unique opportunity to view the lives of leading ballet companies in real time.

The pandemic’s difficulties and restrictions have made us keenly aware of the importance of ballet and dance in communities across the globe. Thanks to World Ballet Day, the world’s leading dance companies can once again unite and share with our fans what we do best: dance. It’s not just our work, it’s the core of our everyday life and the source of our inspiration.


Edward Watson and artists of The Royal Ballet in Wayne McGregor’s The Dante Project 2019 Photo by Cheryl Mann

La Bayadère, Bolshoi Ballet

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