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Cliff

DVD extras

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All of the ballet DVDs I've seen so far are just VHS transfers. They lack any of the the extra features usually found on movie DVDs. So, what bonus material would you like to see on a DVD?

Commentary tracks are a given. Perhaps subtitles for mime. I'd like to have a ballet filmed twice. A distant view for the choreography and a closeup view of the dancers.

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Oh, yes! I really like the idea of recording close and far. I'd also like some rehearsal shots -- see the dancers working out the intricacies and finding new things in the choreography.

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The most recent recording of the Royal Ballet's "Nutcracker" has some of these interesting extra features: wide shots of the Transformation Scene and the Waltz of the Snowflakes, plus interviews with Anthony Dowell and Sir Peter Wright.

I've only found DVD extras on the Opus Arte series of DVDs from Britain, where the initial recording seems to have taken place with a DVD release in mind. On that label, there are plenty of interview extras on the Royal Swedish Ballet "Swan Lake", the Royal Ballet Stravinsky DVD has some great rehearsal footage and interviews with Leanne Benjamin, Monica Mason and extensive reflections from David Drew on the Royal's first staging of "Les Noces". The Royal Ballet "Coppelia" DVD has some brief clips from pieces that aired on the BBC prior to the opening of the new Royal Opera House.

But besides these DVDs, ballet extra features are indeed sorely lacking. US-made DVDs (such as the ABT "The Dream" that just came out) are coming without extra features). I presume, though, that the extra cost of producing special features makes it uneconomical?

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