February 17, 2011
When I started my list of 100 Things back in June 2010, the closest thing I had seen to a ballet was a VHS tape of Save the Last Dance circa 2001 when I thought Julia Stiles was a ballerina goddess and Sean Patrick Thomas was her super cool boyfriend who brought her out of her shell with a little hip hop vibe. Unless of course, you count my ballet/tap stint at the age of 4 at the Upper Marlboro Community Center. My partner ditched me out of stage fright, and left me to pointe my little toes all on my own. Somehow, I had made it to 26 years old without seeing a single live ballet performance.
Living in New York City, I added this item to my list, figuring that if I were going to make an effort to finally see a ballet, then it better be a good one!
Since the creation of my list, I actually ended up being invited to see Casse Noisette aka The Nutcracker on my recent New Year’s trip to Montreal. Of course, I couldn’t resist, and had a blast at the show with my friend, Jordan. The dancing was magnificent, the costumes bright and cheery for the holiday season, and I didn’t realize how many of the songs from the score I actually knew and could hum along to! Amongst the many fun adventures we had in Montreal (attempting to speak French, drag show, eating crepes and fondue, after hours clubs, making new friends, and cooking “family” breakfasts/dinners), this definitely heightened my overall experience.
While I was tempted to count this as my ballet experience, I did specify NEW YORK BALLET on my bucket list, so as amazing as the Montreal ballet was, I still had a mission to see one in NY. In addition, I had promised my friend, Agueda, that she could be there to accompany me in ticking this item off my list! So, when I returned to NY after the holidays, I went online to purchase tickets for the New York Ballet.
I was just in luck as Swan Lake was playing for a 2 week stint! Perfect timing with the release of Oscar nominee, Black Swan, which I still need to see. I’m a huge Natalie Portman fan, and although the film looks quite creepy, it’s a must in my eyes! Agueda and I chose a Thursday night showing at the David H. Koch Hall at Lincoln Center to see the show. This also happened to be during NY Fall Fashion Week, so Lincoln Center was packed!
The theatre was gorgeous, and our seats, although a bit high, were centered, and you could see the stage very well. I had no idea what to expect of the show, and I must say I was very impressed! The live orchestra was phenomenal, the dancers were extremely entertaining, and the costumes beautiful. The lead, who played Odette, was ridiculously flexible and while she had the grace of a swan, she was as flexible as a flamingo! At one point, I think she had one leg on the ground, one in the air at a 180 degree angle, and her head surpassing the ground leg. It was insane. The amount of time the dancers spent on pointe was just astonishing. I don’t know how their toes aren’t killing them performing day in and day out! And if they are, they hide their pain well. While, I really enjoyed the lead, I think my favorite part of the show was the Dance of the Four Little Swans. I recognized the music, and was really impressed with how well they danced together while holding hands almost the whole time. It was really great.
Overall, I had a fantastic time seeing both The Nutcracker & Swan Lake, and had wonderful company seeing the shows with Jordan and Agueda. I feel all the more cultured and happy that I have taken advantage of such a wonderful arts opportunity in the city. I now need to get to the movie theatre to see Black Swan!