By Brian Seibert
24 September 2020
This much we know: Another fall season of ballet is beginning, and almost none of it will take place in person. Ballet companies need to make dance films, and they need to be better than the forgiveably slapdash “we’re still here” video postcards of the early pandemic period.
The big guns, like New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theater, have announced plans for premieres in the coming months. But a much smaller troupe, BalletX in Philadelphia, is ahead of the game. On Wednesday night, it released four new works.
These works will remain available indefinitely, but they aren’t free. To watch them, you have to subscribe to BalletX Beyond, which also gives you access to premieres later in the season, along with extras like interviews and making-of documentaries. The cheapest plan is $15 a month — less than a ticket to a live show but almost as much as premium Netflix. It’s a necessary experiment, especially for companies without huge endowments. Somebody has to figure out how to get people to pay for digital dance.