What It's Really Like to Be a Part of World Ballet Day LIVE

October 2, 2016

World Ballet Day LIVE is back for its third year tomorrow, with day-in-the-life footage from The Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada and San Francisco Ballet, plus a whole host of pre-filmed material from other companies around the world. It’s no secret that we love this event. Here at the Dance Magazine office, pretty much everyone keeps the livestream open on their computers throughout the day. Watching some of our favorite dancers take company class (and spying on their studio style—anyone else wondering what Maria Kochetkova is going to be wearing?), live interviews with dancers, choreographers and artistic directors, sneak peaks of fall seasons that are frequently too far away for us to see onstage—it’s ballet-lover heaven. As much fun as the annual event is for us, we started wondering what it’s like to be the ones on camera. We chatted with San Francisco Ballet corps member Emma Rubinowitz about the insider’s experience of World Ballet Day LIVE.

What can we expect to see from San Francisco Ballet’s segment tomorrow?

I’m dancing in Balanchine’s Diamonds and something from Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella. There’s also a world premiere by Yuri Possokhov, Helgi Tomasson’s Haffner Symphony and possibly a few other things. And of course ballet class in the morning.

Have you participated in World Ballet Day before?

Yes! I’ve been in all three we’ve done so far.

Has the experience changed through the different iterations?

I think the first year everyone was a little nervous, especially the staff! We almost over-prepared. Everyone felt that we were going to get into the studio and film and run everything like a performance, which isn’t the point of World Ballet Day. The point is to show how company life works, how we rehearse. Once we started, it was just a normal rehearsal day, because we can’t make it perfect! The second year we knew what to expect, so nobody was as nervous as they were in the first year.

Is there any added pressure in the studio that day?

Yes, there’s an added pressure, but you know on a normal week we always have somebody popping into class and looking at us. It’s definitely a different feeling than other classes, but I wouldn’t say anyone is getting performance nerves. It’s a little distracting to have the cameras everywhere, especially at barre.

What don’t we see on camera?

The one thing you don’t really get to see, because we do choose what will be shown, is the process of choreographing. I think sometimes that’s really slow and would be really boring to videotape!

Is World Ballet Day something the company members look forward to?

It depends on who you talk to! We vote on whether or not we want to do it, and there are some people who would really rather not. But a lot of people look forward to it, especially people who work at SFB who come from other countries. Their families can go on the internet and watch them dance live, and that’s something they otherwise only get to see maybe once or twice. A lot of my friends look forward to it for that reason. My parents love it, even though they don’t live that far!

Do you have any favorite or least favorite parts of the experience?

Not really! There are cameras everywhere, so it’s stressful and bustling the whole time, and then they all leave and it’s really quiet.

Do you ever jump on the livestream to watch the other companies who participate?

Yes, I definitely watched a little bit, but it’s hard because they start in the middle of the night for us! I definitely did not wake up in the middle of the night to watch, but I peeked in to see the differences—they all looked like they were doing the same kind of thing as us, just rehearsal! We do stream it downstairs, and there’s always a group of people watching and laughing and teasing everyone at SFB who is working on it upstairs.

San Francisco Ballet’s portion of the event begins at 11am PDT/2pm EST tomorrow. Check out the full schedule and watch the livestream online on the World Ballet Day website, beginning tonight at midnight (EST) with The Australian Ballet.

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