Digital organisation launches to film new dance commissions

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An organisation that films new dance pieces so they can be downloaded from the internet and watched on mobile phones is launching this summer.

Crystal Ballet, which has for its inaugural recording commissioned new works by choreographers Kim Brandstrup and Ernst Meisner, releases its first film on iTunes on July 1.

Entitled Genesis, the recording includes eight pieces performed by Royal Ballet dancers Alina Cojacaru, Sarah Lamb and Steven McRae, and English National Ballet performers Esteban Berlanga, Daria Klimentova, Vadim Muntagirov and Erina Takahashi.

Directed by Brandstrup and dancer Bennet Gartside, with lighting design by Nicholas Holdridge, Genesis includes male and female solos as well as pas de deux.

The recordings were made at the Royal Ballet School's Linden Studio earlier this spring using the same camera techniques that have been used for films such as The Amazing Spiderman and Prometheus.

The download costs £15 and will be compatible with devices such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops and computers.

Crystal Ballet co-founder and artistic director Henry St Clair said the company expects to release at least one film annually over the next few years.

“The whole point is that rather than spending £50 to £70 on a ticket and then having to get to, for example the Royal Opera House or the [London] Coliseum, and get to see the ballets physically, this way you can download them for a one-off cost, always have them and never pay for them again,” said St Clair.

He said that the company “specifically” did not want to film existing work being staged in theatres with audiences and instead chose to shoot pieces from scratch.

“We include views from the side, the rear and around the dancers, zooming in and panning around – something you don’t get in the theatre,” he added.