It is REALLY frustrating! There are, all around the world, ballet lovers that do not have the means to travel thousands of miles to those few cities and countries where everything that is important about Dance is going on. Like me, for example. All we have are terrible jumpy, unfocused illegal 2 minutes videos, often recorded using just smartphones, to follow the new ballets in every season, the important choreographers and the dancers we admire. If at all.
Why so few performances are recorded professionally? Why are ballet companies so jealous about their copyrights, if they do not release recordings they could profit from? There must be some serious business issues well beyond my scanty understanding, because it does not seem to make any sense. I heard about staggering Union fees to record inside theaters, but is this the decisive motive?
Are they afraid people would buy a record instead of a ticket? Not ONE ballet lover I know will trade a live performance for a recorded one, if there is ANY way he could be there! But maybe he would buy a recording too, afterwards, to see it again and again… And all those for whom a live performance is out of reach? It doesn’t make sense!
DVD recordings have an aditional problem. There is something called DVD Zones, that divides the world in 5 regions. A Zone-1 DVD cannot be played in any other zone! The Zone you live in is hardwired into all DVD-Players you can buy there, and it cannot be changed.
But it is possible to release an “All Zones” DVD, like Ratmansky’s Flames of Paris with Osipova&Vasiliev&Savin. Why are not all Dance DVDs All-Zones ones (at least those about performances)? After all, Dance is not limited by language as Theater, it is universal… It doesn’t make sense!
Performances live streamed to Movie Houses? Don’t reach my country. Performances available on specialized sites for a fee? “We are sorry to inform you that our streamlining/cloud/downloads are not availabale in your Region…”.
So it’s illegal videos or nothing…
Have companies/producers no interest in widening their virtual audience? Maybe the virtual audience is too small, from a cost/benefit point of view? Can be, but if it is true, I suspect a falacious circular logic could be at work: if they don’t make records available, they don’t have virtual audience; if there is no virtual audience, there is no point in releasing records… In YouTube, terrible quality videos, when featuring great ballet stars, are viewed hundreds of thousands times!
To be fair, eventually an important company includes my region in one of it’s tours. Then I can watch my n-th Sleeping Beauty performed by first soloists, because, if they come that far at all, they always bring us either Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty… I suppose we are seen as too ignorant about Ballet to appreciate anything else. And maybe we are, considering how difficult it is to lessen our ignorance! Even when we fiercely seek to know more!
Of course important ballet productions cannot travel often around the whole world, we know that. But they can be recorded! Any new staging, any break-through performance, any new choreography in it’s first season, any performance by great dancers should be recorded!
Then they could be offered at whatever price, as DVDs or on the web, or published on the web for free if adequate funding were found. A way must be found, for there so many benefits!
They would please ballet fans, constitute historical record, help all kinds of professionals involved with Dance to improve their skills…
We are in the 21st century, for god’s sake, the communication age, the information age! So DO INFORM! DO COMMUNICATE!
Please, make Ballet, make Dance available to us all! Please!