The Evil Imp

Dance Optional

Browsing around the performing arts podcast section on iTunes we, here in TheLab™, were surprised to see a new entry from those crazy kids at the Royal Opera House in London.

The podcast covers the Royal Opera and the Royal Ballet with both video and audio segments on offer. Since Opera is the most ridiculous thing ever invented and this is a dance publication we’ll focus on the Royal Ballet.

Let’s get one thing straight right away. If ever there was an art form that needed to loosen up and put itself out there a bit more it’s classical ballet. Classical ballet companies are wound so tight they’re always about two shows away from needing sustained assistance from a mental health professional. So a podcast is a good thing.

We haven’t been to a big ballet for a long time so it was with a happy heart that we downloaded the latest video podcast about ‘Les Sylphides’, ‘Sensorium’ and ‘The Firebird’.

Our excitement quickly turned to despair when it became very obvious that there was one vital ingredient missing from this 10 minute video extravaganza. There’s no bloody dance in it!

What we do have is a lot of chatter from Monica Mason (RB-AD), some dancers, (we know they are dancers because they are being interviewed in a dance studio – geddit?) and some other bloke.

A quick phone call to Shawn Chapman, new media bod at the Royal Ballet, revealed some answers.

Apparently there is no footage, rehearsal or otherwise of ‘Les Sylphides’ or the others. The excuse reason given was that it is, apparently, very expensive to point cameras at one of the RB’s shows and film it despite the fact the ROH has its own in-house media team and they own a DVD production company (Opus Arte).

‘Les Sylphides’ was first performed by RB way back in 1932 and in all that time it never occurred to anybody to film the damn thing, not even once!

Article19 was also told that because rehearsals don’t start until just before the show goes out there was no time to get any rehearsal footage, which would have been something worth watching.

The only problem with that is the video was uploaded on April 27th and the triple bill bowed on May 4th for a month long run.

So, if you just paid a large some of money to watch this show in the last few days you should know that the dancers were only rehearsing for about a week before taking the stage. No, we don’t believe that either. Somebody at “new media” in the ROH needs to get their act together.

Videos from dance companies with no dance in them are like Police officers with no ID numbers. They’re up to no good and people are just going to complain.

Try harder, would you please!

[ ROH Podcast on iTunes ]