Royal Ballet announces global plans for World Ballet Day 2021

William Bracewell (Andrej Uspenski/PA)
William Bracewell (Andrej Uspenski/PA)

The Royal Ballet has partnered with the Australian Ballet and Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet for what it says is the largest global dance challenge to date.

Nearly 50 companies from around the world will take place in the Jump For Joy challenge on World Ballet Day on October 19.

The American Ballet Theatre, Paris Opera Ballet and National Ballet of Japan are among those involved.

Fumi Kaneko \u00a92021 ROH. Photograph by Andrej Uspenski

Those taking part will be asked to share a video of themselves performing their favourite celebratory dance move using the hashtag #WorldBalletDay. No experience is needed for those at home.

The day itself will feature six hours of digital content from the Australian and Bolshoi ballets, and a Royal Ballet five-hour live stream starting at 11am.

Viewers will experience previews of rehearsals and behind the scenes content from upcoming productions, including Sir Peter Wright’s Giselle and Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet.

They will also see a section from the stage and piano rehearsal for Wayne McGregor’s new ballet The Dante Project, inspired by The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri – an epic poem in three parts recounting a pilgrim’s travels through hell, purgatory and heaven.

The production will receive its world premiere on October 14, marking 700 years since the poet’s death.

The Australian Ballet’s offering from Melbourne will include a tour of the costume production department and an introduction to the company’s educational and outreach projects, while Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet will be hosted by ballet soloists Artem Ovcharenko and Ana Turazashvili.

Fumi Kaneko and William Bracewell \u00a92021 ROH. Photograph by Andrej Uspenski (5)

Kevin O’Hare, director of the Royal Ballet, said: “World Ballet Day is a time to celebrate dance, and now, more than ever, it’s important that we come together with our global family to provide dancers and audience members across the world with a sense of solidarity – bringing us together despite the challenges we have faced over the last year.”

David Hallberg, artistic director of the Australian Ballet, said: “I am honoured to be a part of my first World Ballet Day as Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet.

“We cherish this annual opportunity to join forces with The Royal Ballet and the Bolshoi Ballet, companies that I have known well throughout my dancing career. I look forward to opening our studio doors and giving everyone a glimpse into the life of our compelling artists.

“We can’t wait to connect with our loyal audiences and show them how we have persevered through these times, reenergised and reinspired.”

Makhar Vaziyev, artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet, said: “World Ballet Day gives audiences around the world a unique opportunity to view the lives of leading ballet companies in real time.

“The pandemic’s difficulties and restrictions have made us keenly aware of the importance of ballet and dance in communities across the globe.

“Thanks to World Ballet Day, the world’s leading dance companies can once again unite and share with our fans what we do best: dance. It’s not just our work, it’s the core of our everyday life and the source of our inspiration.”

For the first year, World Ballet Day will share exclusive content on TikTok.

More information online at

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