Google Can Get You Onstage with the Paris Opéra Ballet

So, this is incredibly cool: Have you heard about the Google Cultural Institute? It's a virtual museum boasting millions of artifacts from artistic partners around the world. And we're not talking your standard, here-is-a-really-old-painting-DON'T-TOUCH-IT artifacts: The Institute features interactive digital "objects" that encourage viewers to get up close and personal with art and artists.

Why should you be especially excited about this? Because yesterday, the GCI launched a performing arts arm. And one of the participating organizations is the Paris Opéra Ballet.

In a way that's no surprise, given director Benjamin Millepied's eagerness to boost the company's digital presence. But oh, man, the POB gave Google some GREAT STUFF.

For starters, there's this truly amazing 360-degree video of Millepied's recent ballet Clear, Loud, Bright, Forward, which lets you observe the dancers onstage from every possible angle. It's even cooler than it sounds:

There are also 360-degree "museum views" of the breathtakingly beautiful Palais Garnier, the POB's home. You can tour the stage area, take in amazing views of Paris from the theater's roof—even explore the spooky subterranean "lake" underneath the building. (The Phantom of the Opera: not 100 percent fiction!) And there's a collection of beautiful photographs highlighting the Palais Garnier's exquisite design details.

Like this close-up of Marc Chagall's ceiling for the theater. (via Google Cultural Institute)

Check out the whole thing here. And then pray to the dance gods that the 360-degree dance video trend sticks around for a long time.

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