Ismene Brown

In praise of #WorldBalletDay, Ivan Vasiliev and beautiful butts

The Twittersphere never fails to surprise but it’s still hard to believe that last week #WorldBalletDay actually beat #HongKong and #Windows10 in the Twitter popularity stakes, on a day of barricades in the Chinese territory and Microsoft’s announcement of a new operating system.

Twitter is a solid barometer of a vast and assertively ‘engaged’ segment of society whose demand to be noticed can sometimes be quite serious (see #HongKong). At other times, it’s merely incredible, as it was last Wednesday when some 5,000,000 tweets were sent by viewers of an internet love-in by the Royal Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Canadian, Australian and San Francisco ballet companies, who mustered with phenomenal geopolitical cooperation in a seamless 20-hour marathon of live streaming online of ballet dancers’ lives. Was World Ballet Day Live the largest reality show ever seen? I’d like to know what could compete.

As viewers in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe leapt to share their presence, the hashtag #WorldBalletDay trended, leavingthe US’s second Ebola case and the knife-man in the White House behind. (Trending is what the top 10 Twitter topics are doing.)

A total of 307,393 viewed either the live stream or the catch-up later, according to the Royal Opera House, who organized it. More startling, live viewers watched for an average of 28 minutes – this is a spectacular evidence of interest in the abstruse kind of fondus that don’t turn up in Celebrity Masterchef. Viewers watched in bed, on the bus, surreptitiously at work.

‘Preeeetttyyy much not working today. Just so we’re clear. #WorldBalletDay’, said a fairly typical tweet. ‘What a lovely butt’, said another. But who is to say that beautiful butts don’t play just as important a part in attracting new fans as the coup by National Ballet of Canada in having our very own Sir Anthony Dowell coach their Manon casts, or the unprecedented

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