Bonhams auctions off first-ever ballet NFTs

By Raffaele Redi

Three works by ballerina Natalia Osipova set for sale

Encore! Modern Art on Stage, Bonhams - Giselle, The entrance of Act II                                 
The sale of the NFTs will mark the first time that collectors and ballet admirers can own a piece of performance art – Photo: Bonhams
                                

London auction house Bonhams is auctioning off the world’s first non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for ballet featuring the world-renowned ballerina Natalia Osipova.

The pieces will be sold at the Bonhams’ auction, Encore! Modern Art on Stage, which celebrates the creative intersections of visual art and the stage.

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.

Bidding for the collection, entitled Natalia Osipova: Triptych, opens on 29 November and will close on 10 December 2021, while the NFTs are estimated to be worth in a range between £8,000 ($10,584) to £50,000.

First-ever ballet NFT

The auction house said buyers would be granted a full licence for the works, which means they will own the video and have 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,” said Bonhams.

“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.”

Nima Sagharchi, Bonhams head of digital art, commented: “Ballet is one of the most refined and moving art forms. Through NFTs, we can crystallise unique performances, and own and collect what would otherwise be intangible.”

Hannah Noel-Smith, head of sale, added: “These wonderful NFT performances are part of our Encore sale, which showcases the power and influence of theatre, music and dance.”

‘Ground-breaking way to connect with young audiences’

The NFT collection will be sold at Bonhams alongside costume and stage designs, paintings, works on paper, sculpture, prints, books and manuscripts, ballet, dance, music and circus from around the turn of the century to the 1960s.

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.

“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.”

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