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First-Ever Virtual Reality Ballet Is a Unique Experience, Up-Close With Dutch National Opera & Ballet

The Dutch National Opera & Ballet has released the world’s first-ever virtual reality ballet performance; it’s titled “Night Fall,” and it’s an eight-minute 3D video with choreography designed to be experienced in this format. Several dancers perform the piece while accompanied by a lone violinist, who is also playing his part live while moving around the room with them. The 3D camera is placed in the middle of the performance space, and the choreography and music whirl around you throughout the video.

Even if you went to see a ballet performance live, it wouldn’t be the same as this specific experience, since this dance has been specifically choreographed around a central camera that points in all directions. You can even hear the soft padding of the dancers’ shoes as they spin around the studio, and of course you can also see their facial expressions and subtle movements up close. It’s a really incredible way to experience the form, and it’s also a totally different way to think about choreography. Obviously virtual reality is never going to be the same as a live dance performance, but this is still an incredibly beautiful use of 3D technology.

If you don’t own a VR headset, you can still enjoy the 3D video on YouTube by dragging and clicking around the room as the dancers perform. It’s a lot cooler in VR, though, so if you do own a headset, check out this guide on the National Ballet’s website on how to best experience this video.

(via The Next Web, image via YouTube screenshot)

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Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (, and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (