Natalia Osipova Stars in World's First Ballet NFTs at Bonhams

London – Bonhams is to offer the world's first non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for ballet. World-famous ballerina Natalia Osipova, the principal dancer at The Royal Ballet in London, has performed three pieces, two from the classic ballet Giselle and one from the contemporary duet Left behind, which she dances alongside Jason Kittelberger. The pieces will be sold at Bonhams' new auction, Encore! Modern Art on Stage, which celebrates the creative intersections of visual art and the stage.

Bidding for the collection, entitled Natalia Osipova: Triptych, opens on on 29 November and will close on 10 December 2021. The NFTs are available to preview at Bonhams New Bond Street, London.

NFT collectors, art and ballet enthusiasts are invited to bid for one long-form and two short-form performances in the collection.

Natalia Osipova: Triptych

Giselle, The entrance of Act II – Video from November 2021 exclusive for NFT (Estimate: £8,000 - £12,000)
Giselle, Solo of Act II – Video from November 2021 exclusive for NFT (Estimate: £8,000 - £12,000)
Left behind – Video of live show in Mexico 2019; choreographed by Jason Kittelberger (Estimate: £30,000 - £50,000)

Natalia's embodiment of Giselle marked her first key classical ballet milestone in London and has been praised by critics as the most definitive and celebrated interpretation of the role in her generation. In contrast to this traditional role, Left behind demonstrates Natalia's recent work combining her classical training in ballet with fluid contemporary dance and an emotional narrative. Both roles highlight the extraordinary breadth and creativity of Natalia as an artist.

Natalia's position as one of the world's greatest prima ballerinas and her bold approach to the performing arts mean she is best placed to launch this unprecedented initiative. The sale of the NFTs will mark the first time that collectors and ballet admirers can own a piece of performance art, with the NFT format acting as a proprietary stamp attached to the digital works. Buyers will be granted full licence of the works, which means that they own the video, having the right to use or display it as they wish. As it has done for traditional art, blockchain technology is set to propel the world of dance into a new age of digital performance and ownership.

Natalia Osipova, commenting on the upcoming sale, said: "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. 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."

Nima Sagharchi, Bonhams Head of Digital Art, commented: "Bonhams is proud to be a pioneer in the NFT field – having sold works by creators of digital art and a record-breaking Cristiano Ronaldo NFT trading card – and we are excited to build upon our successful collaborations to offer yet another world's first.

"It is our pleasure to offer these three outstanding pieces performed by the exceptional Natalia Osipova. Ballet is one of the most refined and moving art forms. Through NFTs, we are able to crystallise unique performances, and own and collect what would otherwise be intangible."

Hannah Noel-Smith, Head of Sale, said: "These wonderful NFT performances are part of our Encore sale, which showcases the power and influence of theatre, music and dance. This is the first time Bonhams is selling an NFT within a mixed media sale, and these pieces are the perfect fit – blending dance, art, and innovation. We are pleased to be able to offer these pieces performed by Natalia Osipova, who is as captivating in NFT form as she is on stage."

The NFT collection will be sold at Bonhams 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.

Bonhams is partnering with Meural to display the works on digital canvases during the preview at New Bond Street, London.

29 November 2021


Related auctions