World ballet day and a very special nutcracker rehearsal

World Ballet Day and a very special Nutcracker rehearsal

Yesterday, Wednesday 2 November, we took part in the biggest-ever global celebration of dance, World Ballet Day 2022.

A collaboration between The Royal Ballet and The Australian Ballet, the day showcased the very best of the art form, with behind-the-scenes rehearsals, live-streamed performances, and exclusive interviews from more than 60 major global companies across six continents.

Among others, we saw performances from Bangkok City Ballet, Cape Town City Ballet, and a joint company class between Dance Theatre of Harlem and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Visit the World Ballet Day website to find out how you can access recordings from the day.

The Royal Ballet stream

At The Royal Ballet, the day started like every great day does, with Company class. The class showcased the dancers’ incredible sequence memories, precision, and flexibility. 

We then got to see some performance-level dance rehearsals, starting with Marianela Nuñez and Reese Clark in Balanchine’s Diamonds pas de deux (Diamonds will also be shown in cinemas next year), Prima, a brand new work by First Soloist Valentino Zucchetti, and a special Mayerling rehearsal featuring Ryoichi Hirano and Melissa Hamilton.

It was compelling to see the rigour and detail of the feedback from the rehearsal directors and how it transformed the performances and brought the best out of the dancers. Also, we got a sense of the connection between the in-house musicians, the directors, and the dancers at the Company.

We were so pleased to see some rehearsal footage from Alexander Campbell and Kristen McNally’s Sleepwalker, a contemporary reimagining of La Sonnambula. The piece is a high-intensity duet between Isabel Lubach and School alumnus and wheelchair dancer, Joe Powell-Main.

Another real highlight of the day was seeing the mixture of styles accessed in Joseph Toonga’s See Us!!, which explores our bodies in space and how we can look at protest through group movement, featuring School alumnus Joseph Sissens.

World ballet day and a very special nutcracker rehearsal

Nutcracker rehearsals

The Royal Ballet School stream started with an interview with Pre-professional student, Tom Hazelby, who had been at the School since Year 8. He said, ‘It teaches you so much while you’re there. Amazing teachers, and the discipline is great. And [there are] some great performance opportunities.’ Talking about being just across the Bridge of Aspiration from The Royal Ballet, he went on, ‘It’s so great to perform with the Company and have that opportunity from such a young age.’ 

Our Year 8 students joined the stream for their Nutcracker rehearsals alongside alumni Sae Maeda and Giacomo Rovero and rehearsed by Company Répétiteur, Gary Avis. They were performing the party scene.

We were incredibly proud of how well they had been prepared by teachers Liane McRae and José Carayol and how beautifully they danced.

We also loved to see them take on and understand how to apply the feedback from Gary so quickly, how they worked together with the Company dancers, and that they came to rehearsal with genuine enthusiasm and energy.