Thanks to Google, now you can watch 360-degree videos of ballets, operas and symphonies

In a sign that 360-degree video and virtual reality might be taking off, Google’s Cultural Institute added 360-degree videos of ballet, opera and orchestral performances to its collection of more than 6 million culturally significant artifacts on Tuesday.

The videos, which are played on Google-owned YouTube video players, let users drag their mouse or finger on the screen to watch the same show from different angles. With a 360-degree camera set on stage, viewers can watch performers dance around them, toggle the camera to watch the audience and even point it at the ceiling to admire the lighting.

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Some of the performances include Benjamin Millepied’s dance “Clear, Loud, Bright, Forward,” the Philadelphia Orchestra’s take on “In the Hall of the Mountain King” and Shakespearean performances from Stratford-upon-Avon.

“What I’m hoping is that [cultural institutions] will realize that there’s much more to being on the Internet than just capturing a video and uploading it to YouTube,” Amit Sood, director of the Google Cultural Institute said in an interview with the New York Times. “That’s important, for sure, but the idea here is to provide narrative, to provide behind the scenes, to provide context.”

Google has partnerships with 60 groups around the world that provide content, while the Mountain View, Calif., tech giant provides the technology.

The Google Cultural Institute has been around since 2011. The free website digitizes and displays collections from art museums and historical archives.

Twitter: @traceylien

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