Thursday, July 07, 2011

Ballet, ballet, ballet

Have seen about 5 ballets in the recent five weeks, including Coppelia, The Bright Stream (music by Shostakovich, a very funny tale of country folk on a Soviet collective farm in the 1930s, brilliant), a mix of modern dance pieces and two Tchaikovsky ballets (Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty) - all part of the American Ballet Theatre Season at the Met Opera building. Including also Julie Kent's 25th dancing performance anniversary, and one of the last ever performances of a famous male dancers who has retired at the age of 43 - 20 or more years of lifting ballerinas above his head have taken their toll.

Yesterday's Sleeping Beauty, which I think I have seen for the first time as a ballet, had the lovely Alina Cojocaru as the lead female. She was awesome, dancing it slightly over the top, with some extremely challenging positions, often holding on to them just a smidgeon longer than would have been strictly by the book. Overall I have to say I am getting a bit sick of Tchaikovsky ballets. They probably reflect the time and society they were written in, where there were prima ballerinas who needed to show off their steps, and as for the corps de ballet, its main role was rather more of a corpse de ballet. In both Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty (and probably also the Nutcracker) their main activity seems to be standing at the side of the stage, immobile, watching the stars of the performance strut their stuff. Not really very democratic.

And then, apart from the performance, who was the Lady in the Black Hat who sat in the director's box in the second half? I had spied the box as empty at in the first half and made my way there in the interval, when I saw a shopping bag outside it, and this lady talking loudly into her phone. I asked her if the seats were free, then 'vacant' and she said no, it's my seat (there are four...). Interesting that she did not enter the box until it had gone dark, and with wearing a black hat and dark clothing, and being rigidly turned towards the stage, was almost invisible to the rest of the audience. Was she Someone Famous?