Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Live Performance Excitement!

Since age three ballet has been a central part of my life. From age 16 to 19 it was on a bit of a hiatus, but previous to that my world nearly revolved around it. Not only did I dance, but I owned ballerina statues, Christmas ornaments, dolls, necklaces, pillows, pins--my walls were adorned with a border that showed a dancing ballet bear in pointe, I had books, movies, literally everything imaginable, but surprisingly enough, my experience with professional ballet was virtually non-existent.
The only professional ballet performance I have ever seen was The Nutcracker, twice, before the age of 8. I suppose there are a few reasons why I didn't frequent the ballet often as a child, the most obvious being money.
Now that I'm in Chicago, I see that there are many places I can see shows that are cheap, even free, but back in Detroit, though these opportunities exists, they are fewer in numbers. My parents never had a ton of money, but having their children experience things in life was always very important to them.
My freshman year of high school I spent the summer in Europe, and my brother and I have both seen most of the U.S., but when it came to things like going to professional shows, it always had to be something we could all agree upon. This meant ballet was usually not an option. I've seen many musicals (luckily my little brother has always enjoyed those) but I also have had to sit through countless professional sporting events (I literally do not even know what sport most Detroit teams play.)
Anyway, I have never seen a professional ballet that I can remember. I really haven't seen much ballet outside of my own studio. I went to my friend Gina's dance competitions once or twice in middle school, but those really freaked me out (something a bit too...pageanty in their dress and plastered on smiles).
I think in any art form, watching the professionals do their thing really helps one to build their own abilities and style.
When I learned I had to see a performance for this class, I decided I wanted to go big, and purchased some pretty expensive tickets for The Joffrey Ballet Spring Program on May 1rst.
Description of what I'm seeing:
The Joffrey Ballet closes its 2008-2009 season with an eclectic romantic Spring Program featuring the Joffrey Premieres of Christopher Wheeldon's Carousel (A Dance) and Helgi Tomasson's Valses Poeticos; the revival of Bronislava Nijinska's Les Noces (The Wedding), in commemoration of Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes Centennial; and Round of Angels by the late Joffrey Co-Founder Gerald Arpino.
Let's be honest, I'm not sure what any of that means, but I'm sure it will be spectacular! :)
I'm absolutely pumped, and I'm sure I will have much to write about in my reflection piece!

Yay boys!

Well, as class enters it's final weeks I am, as I have already stated, very sad to see it go. Today's class was a good one. I wasn't too sad about not doing our opening exercises (I feel like mush after the break) and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the bar music today, is that something new? I believe I heard the I dream of Jeanie theme song as well as a Beatles song (or some sort of familiar tunes)? I think the dance went quite well today as well. I can't believe we're actually finished with the choreography! I have to say I was ecstatic when you chose me to do partnering. At my old studio, we literally had one guy (my teacher's son who was forced to dance) and the only person who ever got to partner with him was his own sister (not only because she was my teacher's daughter, but because she must have weighed 70 pounds.) At any rate, partnering is one of those things I never got to experience at my studio and really never expected to experience anywhere else. It's a dream come true to get to do it for even a second!
Partnering is where I find the real drama of ballet lives. It's romantic and emotionally driven, and honestly very difficult!
(look at that photo above, that's hot!)
Having to coordinate so closely and trust the that the guy you're working with isn't going to drop you is not an easy thing to do. It forces you to be aware not only of what your own body is feeling and doing, but also where your partner's body is and what they need from you.
I also think it's great to see the contrast between female and male dancers. It's fascinating to watching how they work differently, technique and moves are cohesive yet opposite, and the difference in their bodies is striking as well, but they move so cohesively and show each other off.
I have been quite impressed with the number and ability of the guys in the class. It's nice to be dancing with more than just girls!
I also look forward to watching the other classes at the performance. I'm not sure if I will have room again to take another ballet class, but it'll be interesting to see how the levels progress and what other forms of dance are available.
I'd really like to do tap again, but I heard there isn't actually a tap class offered?
(Though I did hear recently that there is now a tap group.)