Dance programming for the festive period from companies all over the world are many: free, subscription and pay-per-view. Here are some that have caught my eye. Please feel free to signal in the comments others I’ve missed, and I will add them to this list. Enjoy.
English National Ballet’s Nutcracker Delights
As a gift to its audiences this Christmas, English National Ballet will make a recorded performance of Nutcracker Delights available to watch for free on its YouTube channel and Facebook page from 2pm Thursday 24 December, for 30 days.
As London moved into Tier 4 Covid-19 restrictions and the subsequent cancellation of all scheduled performances of Nutcracker Delights, the company decided to film and share a recording of this specially adapted production with its audience as a thank you at the close of its 70th Anniversary year. Nutcracker Delights was filmed on 18 and 19 December at the London Coliseum by Michael Nunn and William Trevitt.
Teatro alla Scala
La Scala offers a free Ballet Masterclass with the new director of La Scala’s ballet company, Manuel Legris. He takes La Scala’s dancers through their steps as they perfect the tricky choreography of Rudolf Nureyev’s pas de deux from The Nutcracker, a production that was due to be seen live in the theatre during the Christmas period.
English National Ballet’s Ballet on Demand
ANB’s new Ballet on Demand is offering various repertoire pieces but also five pieces created especially for the platform. The 15-minute miniature dance works are available to rent at €3.49. My favourite is the latest to be released, the quirky Jolly Folly by Arielle Smith in a film by Amy Becker-Burnett that has imaginatively caught the spirit of filming dance for television as opposed to placing the camera along the fourth wall: “Dripping with charm and nostalgia, and driven by the Klazz Brothers’ latin-infused covers of Tchaikovsky, Strauss and Mozart, Jolly Folly will leave you grinning from ear to ear.”
English National Ballet School
It was filmed at The Roundhouse by Michael Nunn and William Trevitt – directors of BalletBoyz – and will gives international audiences the chance to witness young ballet dancers, and possibly some future stars of tomorrow, showcase their incredible talent.
New York City Ballet’s The Nutcracker
Marquee TV’s exclusive film of The Nutcracker from the New York City Ballet can be seen until 3 January 2021. George Balanchine’s version first premiered in 1954 and has been a perennial favourite for more than 65 years in New York City, until the 2020 season when performances were cancelled due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The Nutcracker was filmed during the company’s 2019 season at the Lincoln Center in New York with Maria Kowroski, an outstanding as the Sugarplum Fairy, Tyler Angle as her Cavalier, and the breathtaking Megan Fairchild zipping across the stage as Dewdrop. Tickets are available from 27 November priced €27.99.
One of the first post lockdown events in dance was an evening of duets and solos in mid-July seen at the Ravenna Festival. Daniele Cipriani’s Duets and Solos can be seen free of charge on the festival’s site: Iana Salenko, Hugo Marchand, Sergio Bernal and Silvia Azzoni are among the dancers performing and the highflying pianist Beatrice Rana plays.
Teatro Comunale di Modena
An all-male cast for another edition of Daniele Cipriani’s Duets and Solos again with pianist Beatrice Rana and cellist Mario Brunello, recorded at the beginning of December. The dancers are Sergio Bernal, Matteo Miccini, Marijn Rademaker, Simone Repele and Sasha Riva.
Dutch National Ballet
Dutch National Ballet is releasing its Christmas Gala, “by popular demand”. A programme full of famous pas de deux and new works so “let yourself be enchanted by an abundance of Broadway glamour and wintery snowflakes”. It will be available on Sunday 27 December at 12.00 CET and available for 24 hours.
The Australian Ballet are offering two full-length ballets free of charge, but if you are not in Australia you may have to play with your VPN to gain access. They are both available until 6 January 2021.
Gleaming with “Baroque golds, glowing with vivid colour, and spilling over with fairies, woodland nymphs and story-book charm”, David McAllister’s The Sleeping Beauty casts a spell of delight all the way to true love’s kiss.
Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake is “charged with sensuality and heartbreak”. The Australian Ballet’s most performed and successful work has received standing ovations across the globe.
“In a deserted city, a young boy stumbles into a theatre. He wanders through the auditorium, where rows of velvet chairs, draping curtains and chandeliers seem to lie in lonely wait for audiences to return. The theatre may be empty, but the show will go on…”
The Secret Theatre premiered on Monday 21 December and is available online until Thursday 24 December at 11.59pm. Tickets are FREE but must be booked in advance.
Paris Opera Ballet
The version of La Bayadère that the Paris Opera Ballet streamed from the Bastille Opera House on 13 December is still available to rent at €11.90 until the 31 December. The cast changes for each act with Nikiya, Solor and Gamzatti played by Dorothée Gilbert, Germain Louvet, Léonore Baulac; Amandine Albisson, Hugo Marchand, Valentine Colasante; and Myriam Ould-Braham with Mathias Heymann.
Stuttgart Ballet is offering a performance of The Sleeping Beauty filmed on 18 December 2019 at the Opera House in Stuttgart. Marcia Haydée’s production is available from Saturday 26 December 2020 at 14:00 CET until Wednesday 30 December at 22:00. Princess Aurora is Elisa Badenes, Prince Desiré is Friedemann Vogel, boo-hiss Carabosse is Jason Reilly and the Lilac Fairy is danced by Miriam Kacerova.
The Royal Ballet
Following London’s move to UK’s Tier 4 status The Royal Ballet had to cancel its stream of The Nutcracker Reworked but it is replaced by a 2017 recording of Christopher Wheeldon’s magical Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with Lauren Cuthbertson as Alice, Federico Bonelli as the Knave of Hearts, James Hay as the White Rabbit, Steven McRae as the Mad Hatter and Laura Morera as the Queen of Hearts.
Bavarian State Ballet
The company is offering a free streaming programme on www.staatsoper.tv with Swan Lake on 24-26 December 2020 and the premiere of the modern triple bill Paradigma on 4 January 2021. The programmes will also be available after these dates for €9.90.
American Ballet Theatre
In early November at New York City’s Highline Hotel, American Ballet Theatre filmed principal dancers Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside in the grand pas de deux for Clara and The Prince from Alexei Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker. Ten minutes of pure delight.
Top Photo: New York City Ballet’s The Nutcracker © Erin Baiano
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.