Sunday, February 25, 2007

Angelina Ballerina and Barbie Hit the Stage

This is a pretty cute story about a co-venture in the UK between HIT Entertainment and the English National Ballet to bring popular children's character-brand Angelina Ballerina to the real life stage. From the ballet troupe's press release:
Angelina’s Star Performance brings the magic of Angelina Ballerina to life in her first live performance on stage. The production features a cast of eight dancers from English National Ballet with over 100 performances over three weeks in 20 venues across the UK. [...] Angelina’s Star Performance will be a special introduction to ballet for children from the age of 3+ and the tour will be complemented by an education programmed designed to give children the opportunity to experience ballet. The performances will also feature fun activities and workshops in the venues including the opportunity to take part in Angelina Ballerina Dance Academy™ classes.

A similar kind of venture was recently attempted in the US, where you can now catch the Columbus Symphony Orchestra playing live renditions of famous songs included in the Barbie ballet movies, while scenes from the films are projected overhead. The idea behind both projects is to introduce a new generation of youngsters to traditional cultural forms, in this case the symphony and the ballet. Of course, the idea is also to introduce a new level of commercialization to yet another aspect of cultural life. I suppose both parties are getting something out of it - but for the kids watching these productions (or participating in a media-branded ballet class - eek!), it's above all just another case of brand expansion.

To find out about Barbie/Mattel's ongoing relationship with the New York City Ballet, read this!

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