Fine arts organizations are all competing for your dollars. Did you know that?
Perhaps you, like many people all over the world, think of museums, theatre companies, and symphony orchestras as charities (which, technically, they are), and so you perceive going to visit them as a bit of an act of charity. Maybe you think of it as a donation to an organization that you know is good for your community/the world/mankind, which happens to come with an opportunity to see some cool shit.
Well my friend – you future connoisseur of the arts, you! – prepare to be wooed. Because these organizations are marketers, just like any purveyor of goods or services, and you should be super stoked about that, because it means free stuff.
Lots of free stuff.
And what is the “stuff” fine arts organizations have to give to you?
Content. Lots of it. At your fingertips.
Unlock a Fine Arts Goldmine
I’ll let you in on a secret: major fine arts organizations like orchestras, ballet companies, and even museums have EXCEPTIONAL YouTube channels and Instagram accounts through which they pump out sometimes staggering amounts of high-def, well-produced, informative, engaging, fun, inspiring content. Fo free.
Does this mean you should stop paying to see live art? OBVIOUSLY NOT. But! You’re a consumer of the fine arts, and that’s a good thing – so you should pay for things that bring value to your life! And how will you know what you like/want to buy tickets for/are intrigued by if you have no basic knowledge about the organization, the type of art, or the artists you might shell out some hard-earned dough to see?
So, let’s make you an instant (Insta?) fan of at least one genre of fine arts ASAP, shall we? Let’s dive into the wonderful eye candy that is… ballet.
Ballet on Instagram
If you’re like me, you’ve got a lot of similar content filling up your Instagram feed. My friends and I often have similar tastes, the people I follow generally tend to fall into a similar bubble of style and content, and the other accounts I enjoy are likewise in-line with my personal values and visual preferences (duh, or else they wouldn’t be there). But this can mean a pretty monotonous feed (even when it’s all good stuff!)
Cue my FAVOURITE Insta content (sorry friends and family!): short videos and stories from ballet companies. Some are SO GOOD at generating almost daily snippets that interrupt my feed in the most marvellous, uplifting way. Nothing like a dashing young man doing an epic 540 or an ensemble of badass ladies en pointe to wake you up as you scroll, trust me!
You don’t have to understand anything about ballet to enjoy. This is meant to be a way to stick your toe in (there’s got to be a ballet joke there somewhere) and start falling in love with ballet. You don’t need to know the names or plots of the ballets. You don’t need to know the terms for the movements, or the choreographers, or the dancers. You just have to follow, watch, and see where it takes you! You’ll be amazed how much you learn by the osmosis of just having art in your feed. Seriously, amazed.
Pacific Northwest Ballet
My absolute favourite ballet account comes from the PNB. While they aren’t the biggest ballet company in the world, they post OUTSTANDING content – tons of videos in both posts and stories, lots of backstage rehearsal video, dancer takeovers, and more. I’m OBSESSED. (Pro tip: their Twitter is also amazing.)
National Ballet of Canada
Not to brag (totally to brag), but my country has some pretttty stellar arts organizations, including our beloved National Ballet which (extra fortunately for my purposes) has an absolute baller Insta presence. They frequently post well-made, high production-value previews for their upcoming shows, like this one for The Dream). Lots of great stuff, and you really get to know the Principals (like Guillaume Coté and Heather Ogden… #marriagegoals).
The Australian Ballet
The Aussies post more photos than videos, but the photos are AWESOME. If you need more beauty in your feed, this is the account to follow. I particularly like when they post gorgeous photos of the dancers on tour, dancing in front of famous locations (which, by the way, lots of ballet companies do, and it’s a delight). But seriously – kudos to whoever does AB’s photography, because… damn.
I love Houston Ballet because they post loads of rehearsal studio video, which I adore. This is part of why I love ballet companies on Instagram… they take you behind the curtain and make you feel like an insider. It’s particularly fun when you’ve seen a dancer in rehearsal on your feed, then a couple weeks later you see a finished production snippet of them in full costume.
English National Ballet
I have the ENB to thank for my renewed obsession with my favourite ballet, Giselle. Last year, the company staged a SUPER ambitious new version by choreographer Akram Khan, and I felt like I had seen it – that’s how much content they shared on social media. I’ve felt that way about several ENB productions, which means I’m a fan, even from across the pond. Good stuff.
Ballet on YouTube
(Actual shot of me binging full-length ballets on YouTube. No it’s not… I’d never waste popcorn.)
YouTube is your ULTIMATE ballet resource. There are so many opportunities for binging – whether you’re into the ballet history side of things, you just love watching amazing athlete+artists do big tricks, or you want to watch entire ballets starring the world’s most famous dancers… for free.
I’ve archived most of these on my Resources page (which you should check out!). But for handy reference, here are a few of my favourite ballet YouTube videos, plus five really good full-length ballets:
A Few Full-length Ballets:
A beautiful, classic Giselle that I love (Bolshoi Ballet):
A very good Nutcracker (Mariinsky Theatre):
A really lovely Swan Lake (American Ballet Theatre):
Coppelia with my personal fave ballerina, Natalia Osipova (Bolshoi again):
And, finally, a wonderful Sleeping Beauty, with the famously studly Roberto Bolle (La Scala):
Other Delightful Ballet Videos
A couple of MARVELLOUS “Ballet Evolved” videos from the Royal Ballet:
A great compilation video of the top female ballet variations (aka, solos)
Teen Vogue’s addictive YouTube series Strictly Ballet
Australian Ballet’s A to Z of Pointe
TED Ed’s Origins of Ballet
Washington Ballet’s compilation of the Hardest Ballet Moves
Happy viewing & following!
There you go! Now you’re well on your way to being a bona fide balletomane.
And given that it’s Nutcracker season – see if you can take in the real thing IN PERSON this holiday season! Watching ballet is a little bit like online dating: you’ll fall in love on the internet, but at some point, you’re gonna need to see it in person.