Ballet next to jump on the bandwagon as prima ballerina offers NFTs

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Natalia Osipova, 35, of the Royal Ballet in London, teams up with partner Jason Kittelberger to offer three NFTs to the discerning art lover.

Auction house Bonhams has announced in a news release that it will offer “the world’s first non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for ballet.”

Natalia Osipova, known to art lovers as the principal dancer at the Royal Ballet in London and who has a past at the Bolshoi, “has performed three pieces, “two from the classic ballet Giselle and one from the contemporary duet Left behind, which she dances alongside Jason Kittelberger.”

Bonhams is offering the three pieces on sale online at its new auction Encore! Modern Art on Stage, which ends on December 10, 2021.

“I am thrilled to bring classical ballet and contemporary dance together in this NFT collection. These performances are extremely significant for me, and I am delighted that global audiences can appreciate them in a way that has never been possible before,” Osipova says.

“NFTs are a ground-breaking way of connecting both established and young visual artists with their audiences, including tech-savvy art collectors. It is an honour to perform the world’s first ballet NFTs, and I hope that this will pave the way for the next generation of dancers to connect with their supporters on this digital stage.”

According to Bonhams, “The NFT collection will be sold … alongside costume and stage designs, paintings, works on paper, sculpture, prints, books and manuscripts – depicting or relating to theatre, ballet, dance, music and circus from around the turn of the century to the 1960s.”

The pieces are as follows: Giselle, The entrance of Act II and Giselle, Solo of Act II NFTs which are each expected to fetch between eight ($10,651) to twelve thousand pounds ($15,977), and Left behind NFT, which is expected to fetch between 30 ($39,941) to 50 thousand pounds ($66,569).

They can be viewed at Bonhams in London and also downloaded on the Bonhams website. That, however, does not alter their mystique in the eyes of collectors, who will “own” these artworks as NFTs after the auction, rather than merely observe them.

Osipova tells the Guardian that she is “excited but a little nervous” at her step into the world of NFTs and cryptocurrencies, but “I like taking risks and this is my latest venture”.

She adds: “NFTs have shaken up the world of art, particularly over the last year, and I realised they could also broaden ballet’s appeal and reach.”

Osipova claims her motive to create NFTs was born during the Covid lockdowns, as she tells the Guardian “I felt completely lost when I was unable to perform.” According to the newspaper she decided to explore ways of connecting with audiences over a digital platform.

Yet the more likely explanation is that she and Kittelberger, her partner, also plan to form their own dance company, as the Guardian reports. “We’re hoping to find some financial independence by selling NFTs to fund the company,” says Kittelberger. “We hope to [build a] bridge over to the crypto[currency] community because they’re the ones who are actually investing.”

THUMBNAIL IMAGE: Giselle, The entrance of Act II NFT, by Natalia Osipova (b. 1986). (Bonhams)

HEADLINE IMAGE: Natalia Osipova (b. 1986) & Jason Kittelberger (b. 1981) Left behind NFT. (Bonhams)

Source: TRTWorld and agencies

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