English National Ballet goes virtual for the festive season

The ballet company is marking its first digital season with five original dance films that are being released every week up until Christmas on its new digital platform, ENB at Home

While some areas of the creative industries were already well versed in emerging technologies pre-coronavirus, the theatre world has had a tough few months moving away from the revenue model it has relied on for the last 500 years: bums on seats.

What has become clear is that people’s appetite for live performance hasn’t gone away during the pandemic, and as a result theatre companies such as the National Theatre are witnessing huge demand for their live broadcasts.

Top: Jolly Folly; Above: Take Five Blues

English National Ballet is the latest company to get in on the action, having recently announced its first ever digital season of original dance films – just in time for the holidays.

All five films feature performances from English National Ballet’s dancers and were shot in the company’s production studio in east London. They range from the old Hollywood musical-inspired Jolly Folly to the eerie other-worldly aesthetic of Laid in Earth.

Unveiled weekly up until Christmas, the films will sit on the company’s new digital platform, ENB at Home, which gives audiences access to a wide range of ballet content from the comfort of their homes.

English National Ballet artistic director, Tamara Rojo, says: “This is the first time English National Ballet has embarked on a digital project of this scale and it has been amazing to see everyone pull together with such dedication and resolve, to embrace a new process of creation and collaboration.

Laid in Earth

“The result is five very diverse and beautiful films that are testament to the resilience and ingenuity of the arts, even in such challenging times.”

Each short film is available to rent for 72 hours for £3.49, along with an accompanying mini-documentary that gives an insight into the creative process behind the work.

Senseless Kindness; All images © English National Ballet