Or a performance of the St. Petersburg Ballet.
I went to the REAL Ballet last night for the first time. I’ve been trying to have a magical ballet experience for a while now, just because I don’t “feel” anything for western dance and I think something is wrong. So I try to expose myself to it, in the hopes that I will be touched by grace, or at least by love of ballet.
Everyone around me, was squeezed and tucked into their clothes, super-tight neon capri pants, tube tops, micro-mini leather mini-skirts, and walking around on stilettos, and all I could think was that they all looked like squeezing toothpaste tubes or sausage links on high, hurried heels, with frizzy red or straight super-blonde hair.
I didn’t understand the performance. :( I was so lost. I tried thinking about what was involved, and the skill, and how far these amazing world-class performers had come to do this for US, and I just couldn’t get into it. I felt horrible. The performance was about Russian immigrants fleeing to America at the time of the 1917 Revolution and spanned the 20th century in Dance, through the different decades. I think the dancing was probably the most skilled, amazing dancing I’ve ever seen, there were some really funny fight scenes with the “rogues” in New York, some great cabaret-style performances, tap dancing, an unforgettable 40’s beach sequence with beach chairs, and a touching piece where the cabaret girl learns how to dance classical, and does a dance piece with the pointes on her hands, light pink silk ribbons trailing through the dark stage, in quiet light, mingling with her arms.
Close to the end, after musing “I wonder what their costumes are made of, they flow so well, I need to get myself some of these” and so on, I realized that I was watching Art, in the sense of trying to convey a story (albeit one with practically no narrative I could decipher) with no words, only movement and music. I was amazed at the beauty of the dancer’s bodies, thinking of my own, slightly jiggly, soft limbs and belly, and seeing how their bodies were truly works of Art, and admiring the full control they had over every single muscle on their body. Muscles I would probably be surprised I had, in most cases. That part started to dawn on me, when they all bowed. And the strangest thing happened. The entire audience of 750 people (estimate) clapped in U-N-I-S-O-N. For ten minutes. There was never one shower of applause like at the end of any performance. Not once. It was UNISON clapping, the whole time, it was surreal, I kept looking around, wondering what was going on. Can you imagine it? Can you feel it? 750 people, a full Convention centre, clapping rythmically, perfectly in unison for ten minutes. It was one of the weirdest experiences I’ve ever had.
Exit the tottering tubes of toothpaste and sausage links.