This is a guest post by Rob Lindsay, New Media Officer for Birmingham Royal Ballet, who is interested in what people think about online dance materials.
Ahead of a new Birmingham Royal Ballet season, we create various different types of online materials to try to give everyone a preview of the ballets the companys performance.
They vary in style and content, from text interviews and introductory notes on the ballet, through to video clips of rehearsals. You will more than likely have seen some of them here on westmidlandsdance.com.
While I hope you find them interesting, Im curious as to whether or not online readers find these materials actually improve enjoyment or appreciation of a particular live performance.
If youve not seen any of the materials Im talking about, theres links below to a few items that were created for the recent performances of Cyrano and Quantum Leaps, along with some embedded video clips.
If youve got any comments at all, even if youre yet to see us perform live, then theyd be much appreciated.
- Quantum Leaps introductory notes
- Cyrano model boxes and story guide
- Cyrano character guides
- Artist Christopher Rodgers-Wilson discusses Quantum Leaps
R, I think you already know my view all these things are wonderfully helpful, educational, and bottom line they help you decide what to spend your money on. Some things, Im not sure about, and seeing a clip helps persuade me usually to buy a ticket, rather than not. Plus its great if you are taking someone whos not that into ballet- you can show them some notes or send a clip. Plus this opens ballet and dance up to more people. I always think that if everyone could sit where the critics get to sit, and go to many performances, theyd love dance, but if you save up and go to one show, and it doesnt work out, then thats harder. So the more you can do before, during and after, the better.
I agree wholeheartedly with the above the best thing you can possibly do is empower the audience to feel more knowledgeable about the work (or the art). In fact, I even believe you can show someone a high quality video of the entire performance, and that will increase ticket sales (something were going to be putting to the test shortly).
Also these clips will have a longer-term value as well particularly as dance continues to push into the digital area and reach wider audiences.
Thank you both for your comments!
Whenever a new ballet approaches Im never sure if time is better spent offering a preview video of the piece, or simply spending the time on writing clear, accessible introductory notes. While clips are obviously more dynamic, Im aware that simple introductory notes can be more explicitly informative and potentially beneficial to the audience.
Thankfully we always try and create a variety of items, so we dont have to choose just one or the other, but with so many ways of offering these previews online, its interesting to hear which ones people think offer the most worth.