It’s December, which means Christmas is right around the corner! We’ve got some ballets and contemporary productions for you that are completely free to watch and that you can enjoy with a cozy cup of your favorite beverage!
Based around Christmas, this is a great ballet to watch, for first-timers as well as long-time enthusiasts. This classic piece composed by Tchaikovsky and choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov revolves around a young girl who befriends a nutcracker that comes to life on Christmas Eve and fights in a battle against the evil Mouse King. With a lot of festive cheer and lavish sets, this ballet is a visual treat! This version of The Nutcracker is by the Russian State Ballet and Opera House.
- Swan Lake
One of the most popular ballets by Tchaikovsky, Swan Lake tells the story of Odette, a princess who has been cursed by an evil sorcerer to turn into a swan. As a result, she can become human only between midnight and daybreak. The curse can be lifted only by faithful, true love. In order to prevent his spell from being broken, the sorcerer transforms his daughter Odile to look exactly like Odette and fool the prince who has fallen in love with Odette. The dancer who plays Odette generally plays Odile as well. This role is considered one of the most challenging for a dancer - physically because of the complex moves to be executed as Odile as well as emotionally, to play the innocent Odette and the seductive, evil Odile. This is a link to the version put up by the Kirov Ballet.
- Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake
Yes, we know we already mentioned Swan Lake but this is a fantastic reinterpretation that we could not miss mentioning! While this contemporary ballet is based on the original story and uses Tchaikovsky’s music, Bourne’s version is best known for recasting the traditionally female roles as being danced by men. The focus of the ballet is the Prince, rather than Odette and it is the swan who expresses love for him, betrays him in the form of The Stranger and eventually returns to him. This rendering also created controversy as it suggested repressed gay love at the core of the Prince’s struggle. The fierce choreography at the end also subverts the archetype of the swan being a gentle, graceful and feminine bird. You can watch this version at this link!
- Alvin Ailey
If you’re in the mood for something other than ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre founded by legendary dancer, director, choreographer, and activist Alvin Ailey is now streaming some of their productions for free! Ailey is known for expressing the African-American experience through dance. He fused theatre, modern dance, ballet and jazz to create incredibly moving and timeless pieces. His works are available for a limited time each, so currently, you can watch his most signature work Revelations at this link.
- Cirque du Soleil’s series
If you want to watch performances but don’t have much or want something shorter to watch, you could always turn to a series of originals by Cirque du Soleil, the largest contemporary circus producer in the world. They cover stories from their incredible performers and even a collaboration with Disney’s Drawn to Life. Other series include follow along classes, workouts, history of the circus and its various acts as well as podcasts following the travels of different artists of the Cirque du Soleil.