Thursday, May 17, 2007

Shattering Dreams

My mother is in Tbilisi at the moment, so, whilst looking for evening entertainment, we noticed a poster advertising an event in the Opera and Ballet Theatre, but of course I could not read it - even those letters I know were not much help. On enquiry I was told something about 'choreography'. No matter, the tickets were cheap and we knew we could leave early if we did not like it.

Burst into the theatre just as the lights went down and had to use the light of a cameraman to help us read our tickets - just made it into our seats when the curtains opened - and we found ourselves in the annual performance of the local professional ballet school. It was great!! The theatre was full of mums and dads, aunts and uncles, grannies and granddad, all appreciating loudly and happily the considerable efforts their young ones went to.

As all ballet school shows it started with the youngest ones, doing their exercises with the older ones behind, working the barres. The three boys amongst the little ones were well hidden at the back (for synchronicity I suppose if one is at the back, all have to be at the back). The first 'in school' sets of dancing were followed by a crowd of girls led in by a tiny tot doing some folk dances. But that was the end of concessions to Georgian culture for the evening. The second part was taken over by the older dancers doing more solo or small group work. Particularly noticeable was a very tall young man (who I have seen in professional productions before) who had legs up to the sky, and a waist a wasp would have envious of, who could do the most astonishing leaps and bounds - he'll go far! Though I wondered if he would be suited, eg to modern or contemporary dance - those dancers seem to be built more like footballers. I also wondered about those girls who dream of dancing all their lives, and spend their childhood at the barre, only to be thwarted by nature. Nowadays height does not seem to matter quite so much (but perhaps I'm used to tall Lithuanian dancers) - but I did wonder about the girl who seemed to be a D-cup; that's really distracting when the dancer flies through the air, and parts of the anatomy fly in another direction. What to do then? Similarly, with all those dancers being produced by ballet schools - if they cannot make a solo part in an end of year show of the school, what are their employment prospects like? The same goes for musicians, I suppose.

But it was a brilliant evening, full of fun, relaxation, you did not need to worry about interpreting or trying to understand anything, the audience burst into applause almost as soon as anyone lifted a foot in the air - but there was also serious athleticism, and probably at least one injury which the brave young dancer continued to dance through.