Just for fun

Five of Our Favorite Ballet Trailers

Bucharest National Ballet's 2013 trailer for "La Sylphide,' via YouTube

Few things are more powerful for promoting ballet performances than captivating trailers—especially in today's visually-focused, digitally-connected world.

We've rounded up some eye-catching ads from seasons past and present that not only make us wish we could have seen the show, but also stand alone as short films.

Bucharest National Opera's La Sylphide

Magnifying the scarf which—spoiler alert—brings about the ballet's tragic conclusion, this 2013 Bucharest National Opera's trailer turns that fateful fabric into a beautiful, deadly web. Its windswept movements form a dance of its own.


Nashville Ballet's Peter Pan

With few dance steps, this cinematic 2013 Nashville Ballet trailer captures the sense of wonder and adventure in J.M. Barrie's tale of a boy who never grows up. It likewise builds a kinesthetic anticipation of flight which audiences could witness during the production through stagecraft and, of course, the soaring, gravity-defying magic of ballet.


Australian Ballet's Giselle

In what you might think of as balletic "fan fiction," the Australian Ballet created a haunting dance for Giselle which includes some of her signature steps and set it to original music for this 2015 ad. While audiences wouldn't see this scene onstage, it's a creative take on a classic character and gives ballet fans something fresh to enjoy.


Boston Ballet's Chaconne

Sometimes simple is better. Using just Balanchine's dreamy choreography and a celestial haze of theatrical mist, this Boston Ballet preview of its current Classic Balanchine program casts a spell with its abstract, visual poetry and leaves you longing to see more.


New York City Ballet's A Midsummer Night's Dream

Dancers know that feeling of being lost in a fairytale world onstage—the audience, the wings and every other reminder of reality dissolves around you. This 2016 New York City Ballet teaser gives a sense of that irreplaceable enchantment as it draws viewers into a performer's fantasy realm that comes alive when the house lights go down.

News
Getty Images

Despite worldwide theater closures, the Universal Ballet Competition is keeping The Nutcracker tradition alive in 2020 with an online international competition. The event culminates in a streamed, full-length video of The Virtual Nutcracker consisting of winning entries on December 19. The competition is calling on studios, as well as dancers of all ages and levels, to submit videos by November 29 to be considered.

"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

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Robbie Sweeny, courtesy Funsch

Christy Funsch's teaching career has taken her from New York City to the Bay Area to Portugal, with a stint in a punk band in between. But this fall—fresh off a Fulbright in Portugal at the Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa, School of Dance (ESD), teaching and researching empathetic embodiment through somatic dance training—Funsch's teaching has taken her to an entirely new location: Zoom. A visiting professor at Slippery Rock University for the 2020–21 academic year, Funsch is adapting her eclectic, boundary-pushing approach to her virtual classes.

Originally from central New York State, Funsch spent 20 years performing in the Bay Area, where she also started her own company, Funsch Dance Experience. "My choreographic work from that time is in the dance-theater experiential, fantasy realm of performance," she says. "I also started blending genres and a lot of urban styles found their way into my choreography."

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News
Courtesy Meg Brooker

As the presidential election approaches, it's a particularly meaningful time to remember that we are celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, when women earned the right to vote after a decades-long battle.

Movement was more than a metaphor for the fight for women's suffrage—dancers played a real role, most notably Florence Fleming Noyes, who performed her riveting solo Dance of Freedom in 1914 to embody the struggle for women's rights.

This fall, Middle Tennessee State University director of dance Meg Brooker is reconstructing Dance of Freedom on 11 of her students. A Noyes Rhythm teacher and an Isadora Duncan scholar, Brooker is passionate about bringing historic dance practices into a contemporary context.

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