On the 29th of November, Natalia Osipova caused quite a stir when she announced on her social media pages that she had put on sale the first-ever ballet NFTs.
Non-fungible tokens (or better known as NFTs) are still a bit of a mystery for ballet and non-ballet audiences alike, both for what they really are and their actual value. The way I understood them is by comparing them to buying a piece of art from a gallery. Anyone can buy a copy or a print of a famous painting for very little money, but when you buy the piece from a gallery you are paying a premium for the certificate of authenticity: you are buying the original one.
In the same way, digital art can be downloaded from the internet for free, however purchasing the NFT version of it means that you are buying the certificate of authenticity (created through blockchain technology) for that piece of art, be it a digital picture or, like in this case, a video.
As for understanding its actual value, well, the situation is very similar to traditional artwork: it’s going to be a mixture of market demand, quality of the piece, as well as the name of the artist.
In this case, the perfect combo of these three components was certainly attained, as the ballet videos contained in this “Triptych” offering all reached their expected target price. The two solo pieces from “Giselle” sold for almost £11,000 ($14,000 USD) each, while the recording of the contemporary duet “Left behind” danced by Osipova and Kittelberger in Mexico in 2019, sold for almost £38,000 ($50,000 USD). The money raised will be used towards establishing her new dance company with Kittelberger.
While other NFT art has been sold, this was the first time ballets are being auctioned, and given the success of this first attempt I expect other ballet NFTs will be released in the near future.