Sunday, July 19, 2009

July 18 - "Everything is Beautiful at the Ballet..."

Last night, Mark took me to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion to see Prokofiev's "Romeo & Juliet" performed by the American Ballet Theatre. While not my first actual ballet, it will be the first one that I remember.

I attended my first (and only) ballet at the tender age of five. A performance of Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" that my Mom took me to (along with my younger cousin, Michelle and my Aunt Rene). My Mom says I loved it so much that it was all she could do to keep me from dancing in the aisles!

I did manage to avoid aisle dancing during "R&J" though and was surprised by the ballet experience. I'd seen a few scenes from ballets in Movies and on TV; mostly sparse sets with
tutu'd snobbish-looking primas leaping across stages. I remember watching 1952's Hans Christian Andersen and loving it all, except for The Red Shoes ballet sequence which as a kid, bored me and I thought bogged down the movie.

Well, last night I was (and how do I choose words that don't sound too gay), delighted and enthralled (drat, too gay)... I loved it. The sets and costumes were wonderful; far more than I expected. When not performing scenes in dance (specifically the scenes with Friar Laurence), I found myself enjoying what felt like watching a live performance of a silent movie (which I love). Overall, the dancing was beautiful and I get it.

Hallberg was a great Romeo (in my very humble and under-informed opinion) and Xiomara Reyes was serviceable as Juliet. The stand-out was scene larcenist Craig Salstein's Mercutio - funny and engaging. Even his death scene was entertaining (oops, spoiler alert - Mercutio dies - deal with it).

Anyway, my point is that I experienced something new last night. Something that always appeared on the outside to be something I'd find boring. I was not only pleasantly surprised that it was not boring, but actually enjoyed dipping my toe into the waters of Ballet.

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