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Ballet behind the scenes: RWB’s Wonderland

January 19, 2011

RWB integrates behind the scenes videos in website

One thing about ballerinas is they are notoriously hard to approach. They stand so tall and stiffly and look at us normal people from down their nostrils. During a ballet performance, viewers sit and witness an entirely choreographed and often traditional show that is the final product of months, sometimes years of work.

So why not involve viewers from the start and get them excited about a new ballet production before going to the theatre? That’s the idea behind the Royal Winnipeg Ballet‘s video series. In particular, the Year in Wonderland videos chronicle the choreographer (Shawn Hounsell) and dancers’ development of a modern rendering of Lewis Carroll’s classic book, with an original electro-acoustic score by Canadian composers John Estacio and Brian Current. First person interviews throughout make it almost like a reality show… with really pretty people. You realize that the dancers are human (they complain of being “so sore” after the first few days) and that the creative process behind the ballet is long and fraught with drama. As in any good reality show, there’s even a crisis moment (I won’t spoil the surprise though – you’ll have to see it for yourself).

This is the first video – go to their vimeo page or website for more.

A Year In Wonderland | Episode 1 – Part 1 from Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet on Vimeo.

The videos are nicely integrated into the company’s website on the page dedicated to the production of Wonderland. Facebook integration is also present through a like button for each page and widgets on the left of the page with external facebook, twitter, youtube and vimeo links. Their facebook fan page has about 2000 fans and could still use a little work. Aside from the fact that they haven’t bothered getting a vanity url, they aren’t fully using the arsenal of great material that they have at their disposition – namely photos and videos directly on facebook (embedded vimeo and you tube, and photo albums) that would generate a lot more “likes” and maybe comments (which are almost entirely lacking). A ballet – and other performing arts like opera – always has years worth of beautiful photos of costumes, sets, set designs, actors etc on hand that can be used to animate a facebook page (see, for example, what we at H-Art did for Arena di Verona).

The Marketing company behind this is Vancouver and Toronto based Curve Communications who have been working with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet for a few years now. They write of the outcome of previous projects:

Targeted ad campaigns, innovative marketing initiatives, and extensive media coverage coordinated by Curve maximized visibility in the Lower Mainland for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s touring productions into Vancouver. Curve has worked with the Royal Winnipeg on multiple Vancouver engagements, including Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, Moulin Rouge – The Ballet, and since the beginning of this relationship, the frequency of the RWB’s tours to Vancouver has increased dramatically coupled with increased attendance and overall visibility in the city.

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