Monday, January 23, 2017

Ballet - Balm for the Battered Brain

The picture is the original cast in costume for Sleeping Beauty, the ballet with music by Tchaikowsky and choreography by Marius Petipa.  Yesterday's simulcast performance from the Bolshoi Ballet claimed it as a Bolshoi speciality but it was first performed by the Marinsky Ballet.  Never mind.  The costumes were equally ornate although the women dancers all wore very short tutus; the many mostly stationary members of the count were ornately dressed similarly to  these. That's all icing on the cake.

I'm very, very happy we are able to see these simulcasts. The dancing of the company is absolutely magnificent. I have seen four of their simulcasts and am stunned each time by the brilliant dancing, especially the danseurs. I saw Sleeping Beauty at the New York City Ballet and loved it. New York's dancers are (arguably, I suppose) the best in the United States. They are wonderful. But these dancers take my breath away. It's a long ballet, made up mostly of set pieces to show off individuals and couples, the story is very scant. But we all know the story and cannot help feeling the power of the curse of the bad fairy, the young princess's long sleep and her awakening. Tchaikowsky is never better than in his ballet music. I become bored listening to his symphonies, but when his music accompanies the dancing, pageantry, sets and lights on a stage, it becomes the perfect additional sensory completion. I look forward to seeing Swan Lake next month.

I begin with the background because I did not like the ornate set, and especially did not like the design on the floor. The NYC production was much simpler.  The busy design distracted from all the important dancing, especially as the video was all done from above looking down. 

However, the afternoon was, as my title says, balm for the battered brain.  This inauguration week has been an emotionally trying time. My heart is with all the women marchers. Of course I did not watch the mockery of an inauguration.  How wonderful to be in a fairy tale presented so beautifully!

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