Tag Archives: tamara rojo

Photography by John Ross

27 Jun

You can’t call yourself a true blue ballet zealot until you require that it infiltrate the décor of your home.  After all, fans of dance tend to have an eye for shape, color, movement and harmony (or discord if that’s your preference).  Such qualities can also be seen in interior design and I figured…ABSOLUTELY.  So in order to sate the beasty mcbeast, I turned to photographer John Ross, who has several galleries for your perusal (link at ballet.co).  I was excited to see that prints were available for purchase so I contacted Mr. Ross and after much deliberation selected a couple of photos that appealed to my senses.

Take a gander!

I don't normally display phoos on easels by the way...it's going to go on the wall!

At this point I figured I’ve made my preferences somewhat predictable so I hope that it comes as no surprise that one of the photos I picked was from Symphonic Variations.  There are so many wonderful, picturesque moments from the ballet and Mr. Ross even has picture sets from two different performances.  It was hard to decide but ultimately I went with something that was visually dramatic but technically simple.  It has the three women and one male dancer linking hands, with the women en pointe in fourth position, heads tilted just a romantic itsy-bit.  The photo is a lovely close-up so many of the costume details, hair accessories and the minor fact that the picture was taken a split second before the dancer on the far left actually had any weight on her front foot are easily seen (especially when you buy a 12” x 16” enlargement!).  As striking as the photograph is by itself, it’s like a ballerina without a partner in a pas de deux…it needs framing.  Furthermore, I am of the school of thought that matting is a must.  When the question is “to matte or not to matte?” go with the latter.  Not only does such fine photography deserve it, but matting is a perfect opportunity to enhance visual interest.  I purchased pre-cut, double layered matting that was white on top with a black layer underneath and paired with the wide black frame, it echoes the design of the man’s costume.

Now a picture may be worth a thousand words, but a room needs a thousand and six.  I paired the photo with a curtain from Anthropologie, the store where the trendy woman’s mantra apparently becomes “resistance is futile.”  I have never purchased anything from said store…nevertheless I was most astonishingly inspired by that curtain.  In reality it’s a shower curtain but I’m taking it upon myself to use it as a portiere for a storage closet that is without a door.  Unfortunately it’s not sold in US stores anymore but they can be nabbed on ebay for significantly discounted prices.  It’s called “Knotted Vines,” but it should really be called the “Symphonic Variations” curtain because the design has the same sort of sweeping movement and greenish-gold coloring of the backdrop.  That’s probably why I was attracted to it in the first place and although green, yellow and gray are not colors I normally gravitate towards (I have a weird thing where artificial greens never look right to me…I prefer natural greens in plants, like those that can be seen outside my abnormally shaped window in the background), the it just works for me.  One photo is never enough though…

A cooler color pallette...

Here we see a couple of things…a super-cute poster sent to me by the Bag Ladies of The Ballet Bag for playing ballet mad-libs and the other photo I purchased of Tamara Rojo and Federico Bonelli (BoBo) in Jerome Robbins’s Dances at a Gathering.  Of course I had to have some Rojo adorning my walls; I’ve recently begun Secret Muses: The Life of Frederick Ashton and the first few pages discuss how inspired Ashton was as a little boy when he saw legendary ballerina Anna Pavlova on stage and it immediately reminded me of the way I felt when I saw Rojo dance Manon (the anniversary of which was yesterday!).  Her dancing (and the Royal Ballet) completely changes the way I saw dance and I guess that makes her my muse in a way.  Coincidentally (well, not really) I stayed in the same sort of era with this second photo and again went for something technically simple but visually dramatic, with Rojo in arabesque and BoBo in a forward extension (développé croisé devant?  I’m awful with the direction words and such).  It’s hard to see in the above photograph, but the background is a dark blue and her costume is lavender, which I like with the periwinkle blues of The Ballet Bag poster and as Stacy London of What Not to Wear would say, the “pop of color” with the contrasting orange.  I really loved the simplicity of line and the connection between Rojo and BoBo’s faces—it’s a very subtle electricity and really breathes life into the photo.  The frame and matting are the same (I purchased them at Aaron Brothers in downtown Seattle) as the store was having a sale of “buy one get one for a penny.”  Perfect!

The only thing missing is a third photo of Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux to complete my neoclassical triad, but I couldn’t find a picture of the Royal Ballet performing it in the galleries so I’ll have to put that dream on hold (there are a few of the Mariinsky, but Russian dancers’ performances of it have often left me unsatisfied so it just wouldn’t feel right).  At any rate, I am beyond thrilled and satisfied with my purchases from Mr. Ross so if anyone’s interested in his photography, do send him an e-mail!  My experiences were A+ and he offers multiple sizes of prints for excellent prices.  He is based in the UK, but has a son in California so US buyers can pay by check in US dollars and avoid the hassle of dealing with foreign currency or additional bank fees.  It couldn’t be easier to add beautiful ballet photography to your home and support another artist along the way.  Do it!

Everybody sweats in Cuba

9 Jan

Earlier this year the Royal Ballet made a historic maiden visit to Cuba, and subsequently a documentary was made to…document the whole sha-bang.  This documentary was filmed and produced by the Ballet Boyz, former leading Royal Ballet dancers (and now award winning filmmakers) Billy Trevitt and Michael Nunn.  This recent venture in Cuba was broadcast on More4, a UK channel that…well, as an American I’m not really sure what they’re all about, but they do some programming on the arts.  I don’t know how accessible this channel is to the average household in the UK, but it’s certainly not accessible in the US and so I was overjoyed when the twittervines had announced its magnificent appearance on YouTube.  And not just excerpts, oh no…the WHOLE thing.  Someone took the time to capture, compress, upload and process an hour long documentary for the benefit of people they don’t even know.  Feel loved, because people care!

And if you’re American, feel ashamed.

Okay, maybe ashamed is a strong word, but don’t other Americans out there feel a twinge of humiliation when they see (or I guess don’t see?) how other nations treat the arts?  It’s so rare for PBS to broadcast anything dance related, and when they do it’s usually something historical (like the American Masters series on Jerome Robbins…I believe there was one on Balanchine at some point, but the Robbins one was broadcast more recently…well, over a year ago), while the UK is actually broadcasting current documentaries, not to mention a few live broadcasts from Covent Garden on BBC (the BBC?).  Even cinemas show ballets, as I’ve read that the recently filmed performance of Mayerling starring Ed Watson that is to be released on DVD soon is actually being shown in theatres.  Some theatres here “try,” but when all you get is a Swan Lake and a Nutcracker it’s like being stranded on a deserted island and trying to build a raft to escape out of toothpicks.  Even in Cuba, the audiences loves their ballet, dancers make the news, and even your average barber will go to the town square to watch a live broadcast of the Royal Ballet projected onto tarps, not even getting to see the performance itself live! Sometimes I wonder, especially during the misery that is winter, if it would be worth giving up this capitalist environment for hot weather, public healthcare and good mangoes.  I know things aren’t perfect in Cuba…but perfectionism is a disease anyway (I don’t search for perfect…just fit).

Despite the constant reminders that ABT and NYCB are virtually inaccessible to the American public outside of the apparent fortress of Manhattan (ABT had a similarly historic visit to Beijing and there were a couple of measly articles, but nothing in national newspapers that I know of.  I mean really…does either company care about increasing their reputations at home before going abroad?  Can they really call themselves national icons if it’s probably safe to say I could survey people on the streets and the vast majority won’t be able to name a single principal dancer with either company, and maybe not even KNOW of either company?)  and that our system of funding for the arts is…not entirely crappy but could definitely use improvement (as goddess Rojo herself would tell you, singing the praises of the British system), I thoroughly enjoyed the documentary.  I thought it was so well done to appeal to both balletomanes and new viewers alike, neither condescending nor trite, with significant excerpts from the dances they performed (except Manon).  It looks like it was the same program to come to Washington DC that included Manon, Chroma (the one that got away) and A Month in the Country (the one that I’m now thinking REALLY got away).

This documentary really had everything though…rehearsal footage, performance footage, excursions into the heart of Havana, lots of sweating…a thorough yet simple look at the tour, with plenty of drama and a tasteful sense of humor.  Oy the drama!  Some dancers got swine flu, a last minute injury saw Jonathan Cope coming out of retirement to perform A Month in the Country, despite the fact that he hadn’t been in a class for two years (and yet he could still do a quadruple pirouette en dedans, and stop in attitude.  Seriously?).  Lots of drama for Tamara Rojo too, although none of it was her fault by any means.  I have to say she was totally bad-ass for many reasons, because she performed double duty in the gala by doing the Don Quixote and Le Corsaire grand pas de deux, and not only did she do them but DonQ was with only one half hour rehearsal with a man she had never danced with before and Corsaire was the pressure cooker because Carlos Acosta, homecoming king, was her partner for that so it had to be spectacular.  Not to mention she would surely do the lead in one of the performances of Manon, so I’m guessing she was rather frazzled and stressed.  She’s pretty poised and maintains her calm, but my favorite moment is when the generator dies (and thus, their stage lights) and she drops an f-bomb.  The best people in the world are the ones that are always giving you reasons to like them more.  I love that she contributed to the program’s advisory for coarse language.

Great fun to see Carlos Acosta in his element as well…he was so excited in their post-performance trip to the downtown square to greet the fans who watched the projections.  Plus, watching him interact with his fellow dancers is doing wonders for my Cuban accent.  It’s interesting to see them get the rockstar treatment though…some might abhor that and call it improper, but I say…why not?  There isn’t one way to dance…there shouldn’t be one way to be a fan.  Certain etiquette is to be observed, but when the curtain is down and it’s time to celebrate the performance I say have at it.  I think dancers should be able to do both hugs and bouquets or shaking hands and playing the crowd.  Really, the sky is the limit…but don’t do anything that might result in a restraining order.

Be sure to watch The Royal Ballet in Cuba, in all glorious eight parts, beginning with this one:

May I take your order?

15 Dec

In honor of MusicMonday (which is technically when I started this entry), I thought I’d do a little detective work with the infamous Black Swan coda.  It has a really messy history, with three different versions at your disposal.  First, you’ve got the original coda from 1877 which was the finale to the Pas de Six.  The original coda is the one Anna Sobeshchanskaya didn’t like and had Léon Minkus write her one, which irked Tchaikovsky, who then wrote one for her, which has now become the coda in the Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux.  Tchaikovsky’s second coda may or may not have been influenced/adapted from that of Minkus, and as far as I know, this coda is actually never used for Swan Lake anymore.  To make matters more fun, the coda that is most used today is from Swan Lake, but was originally from Act I, intended as a Pas de Deux for Two Merry Makers, and then adapted/re-worked/(butchered?) by Ricardo Drigo into the Grand Pas de Deux familiar to most.  It’s a hot mess, and if I ever meet Tchaikovsky in the after life a question relating to the Black Swan pas de deux madness would probably be the first thing I asked him.  Which do you like, Pete?

A lot of ballet companies will mix and match as well, which can probably confuse a lot of people.  A Grand Pas de Deux is generally comprised of four parts, the grand adage, the male variation, the female variation and the coda.  Or if you prefer, the entrée, soup, salad, and dessert.  So I’ve devised a Swan Lake menu for your perusal:

This took way too long to make.

The Pas de Six – Andante con moto, Pas de Six – Moderato are never used (although Kenneth MacMillan reworked the Pas de Six music into a production of Swan Lake for the Royal Ballet, but probably not as a pas de deux ETA: This info came from Wikipedia…credibility?  Mmm…could be questionable.), while the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux: Allegro and Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux: Coda are never used for Black Swan (to the best of my knowledge), despite being highly recommended by the chef.  Most choreographers go with the starred, “most popular dishes” as used originally by Petipa/Ivanov, while others have been a little more adventurous:

Bourmeister (La Scala)

  1. Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux: Moderato – Andante
  2. Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux – Allegro moderato
  3. Pas de Six – Variation: Moderato
  4. Pas de Six: Coda

Grigorovich (Bolshoi)

  1. Tempo di Valse and Andante
  2. Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux – Allegro moderato
  3. Pas de Six – Variation: Moderato
  4. Coda: Molto Allegro Vivace

Nureyev (Vienna State Opera)

  1. Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux: Moderato – Andante
  2. Allegro
  3. Pas de Six – Variation: Moderato
  4. Pas de Six: Coda

As you can see, anyone who doesn’t go with the standard picks whatever the heck they want apparently.  I’m sure they all had their legitimate reasons for their selections (and I don’t question them, mostly because I don’t really care), but unless you know ahead of time, it can be a kind of confusing to go see Swan Lake and expect one thing but then scratch your head when you realize the music is unfamiliar.

I only got interested in this whole mess because I myself got confused when I realized that there were two different codas that are commonly used, neither of them being the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux coda, and was thinking which coda appealed to me the most.  Predictably, the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux is still my favorite of the three, even if I ignore Balanchine’s choreography.  Musically, I think it’s the most exciting, although I was curious as to what a Swan Lake Pas de Deux would look like to it.  As I mentioned earlier I don’t think it has ever been used in a Black Swan pas de deux, and it made me wonder if the 32 fouettés was a part of the choreography as well.  It’s possible that the same place Balanchine put the fouettés in the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux (although he didn’t choreograph 32) is the same place where 32 fouettés could have gone because it’s long enough, but what makes that seem unlikely to me is the fact that in the other codas, the fouettés come pretty early on, while the possible break in the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux which is thirty seconds longer than the other two, is towards the end.  Regardless, my questions ended up being irrelevant because 32 fouettés didn’t enter Swan Lake until the 1895 revival by Petipa/Ivanov, which is post-Sobeshchanskaya, who used the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux version in 1877 (the original Swan Lake, by Julius Reisinger was not a success).  Well, at least I learned something.

Turns out the most popularly known Black Swan coda is my least favorite, as I like the Pas de Six coda much better.  But, to each his/her own, so here are the three codas, so you can decide for yourself.  Although I did say the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux Coda was never used as a Black Swan coda, Nureyev did use it in Act I of his production of Swan Lake, so it has found a way back in (even though the Royal Ballet doesn’t perform this staging anymore.  I believe they’ve since gone to the Petipa/Ivanov).

Marianea Nuñez/Thiago Soares, standard Black Swan coda (beginning at 2:35)

Fonteyn/Nureyev, Pas de Six coda

Nureyev (Act I), Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux coda

To make matters better, I’ve also uploaded all three codas onto SendSpace, in mp3 format for your listening pleasure.

Standard Black Swan Coda

Pas de Six Coda

Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux  Coda

And because good things always come in threes, there is also free sheet music in PDF format available in a solo piano arrangement (full score is available as well, but that helps very few in the population) so now you can make a request to your accompanist to play your favorite coda for class.  The “popular” coda is on pp.61-64, Pas de Six coda on pp.178-180, and the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux coda on pp.248-252.

Swan Lake for Solo Piano (PDF file)

Bon appétit!

PS.  This entry was a pain in the ass to write.

More on Manon

19 Jul

It’s been almost a month since I saw the Royal Ballet do Manon in DC, but I’m still kind of basking in the afterglow.  This is encouraged by the fact that the RB just wrapped up a historic stint in Cuba, as that was their maiden voyage to Cuba and they are the first major ballet company to perform there since the Bolshoi, which was 30ish years ago.  Oh and there is that guy…Carlos whatshisface who’s only making his debut in his home country where ballet is somewhat respected.  And what I really mean by that is according to theballetbag on twitter, the Cubans are crazier than the Japanese fans.  And trust me when I say the Japanese put the fan in fanatic.  They love their girly-girl princess stuff like ballet and figure skating, and I actually went to the figure skating world championships when they were in Tokyo in 2007 (I was living in Tokyo at the time) and can confirm that the fans were certifiably nuts.  But mainstream popularity is good (NHK, one of their major networks regularly shows ballet competitions and documentaries…can you imagine if NBC did the same?) so long as the stars are safe.  In fact, Marcelo Gomes of ABT fame has a Japanese stalker who travels to see him perform, but he seems to appreciate that he was able to touch her with his dancing.  Meanwhile, I read about Marcelo in “The Advocate” and if I know Japan like I do, stalker lady has a blissful relationship with that river in Egypt if you know what I’m sayin.

Anyway, RB did Manon in Havana, of course starring Tamara Rojo and Carlos Acosta (by the way, what is it with the weird nicknames fans give him?  The ‘Flying Cuban’, the ‘Beast of Ballet’ and my personal favorite the ‘Cuban Sex Missile’), and I reflect fondly upon my experiences as an audience member.  I didn’t realize at the time how much I loved the score, and now that I do, I can’t get over how exquisite it is.  I was kind of biased when I saw it because I was confusing Jules Massenet with Jules Mouquet; both composers with the latter having written a piece I once played entitled “La Flute de Pan,” which quite frankly is kind of sheety.  This is why I so often second guess myself though, because half the time I have no idea what I’m talking about.  Jules Massenet on the other hand, does happen to be the composer of one of my favorite pieces of music, Meditation from his opera Thais.  This is a part of my “relaxing music” playlist that soothes the inner beast.  It’s also known in the ballet world for a pas de deux choreographed to it by Roland Petit, as well as track 16 on the CD “Ballet Technique.”  Have I digressed?  Anyway, Massenet is massively fabulous and I am now dying to get my hands on a CD of the score.

In other news, does anyone even know how “Manon” is actually pronounced?  Is it MA-non or ma-NON?  Every time I talk about it with people it seems like they say the opposite of what I say, and I end up feeing stupid, but even Tamara and Carlos don’t seem to agree, as seen in this studio footage and interview released by Royal Opera House:

I really loved hearing what Tamara had to say about Manon…I find her insightful in such a way that tells me this kind of ballet is right for her, as opposed to the flashy classics.  A lot of youtube commenters complain about her being a little stone-faced as a Kitri, and maybe Don Q isn’t the best role for her, but every dancer has their niche (although if you watch her do Don Q, there’s one video where she does triple fouettes while manipulating a fan.  MAD skills people…MAD skills).  The following was broadcasted on NHK (told you the Japanese love their ballet!) and she tells us more with an oh so subtle dig at the Soviets. (the brief statement in Japanese in the middle I can translate for you…the narrator just says “Act I: The Bedroom Pas de Deux.  Des Grieux and Manon express their deep, burning love for each other)

So I’ve been on this youtube kick to find as much footage from Manon as I can, and I already posted the bedroom pas de deux in my initial review (in “The Royal Ballet kicks royal Boo-tay“), and have now found a video of Carlos performing one of the “mandagges” I was talking about in addition to the pas de deux they’re rehearsing from the footage I posted above.  I think that one might be my favorite, and certainly the music is choice as that’s probably my favorite melody in the ballet.  Meanwhile, if you read my review, you may also recall that Tamara has the most freakishly flexible feet, and if you would like to see for yourself, pause the following video at 3:52 and take a moment…and consider what it is you’re really looking at.  Take another moment if you must…it’s a lot to process.  But she sure knows how to use them.

And now…a video of the SWAMP pas de deux.  The climactic, tragedrama ending, which still gives me goose bumps, unlike the person who left a comment on this youtube video.  (By the way, why is it that people who comment on ballet videos are some of the most toxic, vicious and overly critical people out there?  To call Tamara boring is just nasty.  Not even my dad, who knows zilch about ballet was bored, and tell the woman 2 seats down from me who was sobbing hysterically that Tamara was boring.  Mm hmm!)

There’s also a part 2 to the above clip, but it’s just the curtain call.

So, my little chicken pot pies, Manon was truly an epiphanous revelatory “eureka!” moment for me, because it completely changed the way I look at ballet.  I’m actually kind of mad at myself for having initially been more excited to see the Bolshoi do Le Corsaire, but aren’t the best moments in life the unexpected ones?  I mean hello, I still can’t stop thinking about the whole experience, and am dying for it to be released on DVD soon.  So to close, I give you a trailerish clip, where you can see more of the RB’s fabulous corps, lots of comedic moments (including a lot of slapping), and a bit from the “drunken variation.”  Not to mention the third act when Manon is sold into prostitution…reminds me of the little girl in the audience who after reading the program asked her parents “what’s a prostitute?” (or “prostie” for short, for anyone who happens to be a trendy Australian)  And there goes the prize for the most awkward question ever…bet they wished they were at the Nutcracker instead.  Oh the scandalosity! 

The Royal Ballet kicks Royal Boo-tay

26 Jun

The conclusion of Balletfest 2009 has come down to my attendance of the Royal Ballet production of Manon, at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC.  The principal characters Manon and Des Grieux were danced by Tamara Rojo and Carlos Acosta (respectively).  I purposely chose this night to see Carlos instead of Alina Cojocaru on Friday night, as ever since I became a fan of ballet and saw videos of him performing it became one of my life goals to see him live.  Definitely one of the best of his generation (maybe the best) and those familiar with his story know it’s one for the ages, so I feel incredibly fortunate to have witnessed a performance by him.  One life goal down, approximately 87 left to go…(most of which, I haven’t even decided what they are yet, but I figure 87 is a good number).

Starting with the lead character Manon, Tamara Rojo has the most amazing feet (actually, dancers with the Royal Ballet do a much better job of using their feet than the Bolshoi ballerinas overall).  I was very impressed, and occasionally freaked out by how mobile her feet were.  There were a couple times when she’d sit on her shins and her feet were so lengthened her toes were like 3 inches off the floor.  I noticed that she didn’t have the huge extensions and massive turnout that the Russians often do, but she was so much more square in her hips and she used the turnout she had so effectively I found her very pleasing to watch.  Looking back, it’s almost as if the Bolshoi dancers would force their feet open, but then moments en pointe where they weren’t 180 turned out became more obvious and made them seem turned in as a result.  Let that be a lesson to those crazies who care not for their knees…smoke and mirrors turnout doesn’t do you any good on relevé/en pointe!  Tamara is a pint sized ballerina, but awfully playful and exquisite regardless.  Sign me up as a fan!

Obviously, I was already a fan of Carlos, and he too has amazing feet. They are just incredibly strong, and allow him to do pirouettes with such ease, and aplenty he did.  I noticed that Manon has a lot of slower almost adagge work for Des Grieux…a “mandagge” if you will, and they were crazy hard!  There were all kinds of pirouettes that would open to arabesque or developpé a la seconde and they just had to stop.  I’m not even sure most professional male ballet dancers could even do these mandagges without a little hopping around.  But Carlos is just so clean with his technique that it was like buttah.  I’ve seen clips of him doing the usual Basilio from Don Q, the Le Corsaire pas de deux, etc. but I think he shines in these narrative ballets where his generosity in his technique, maturity and expression really come through, instead of “cheap” tricks like a la seconde turns that will make any audience happy (although he is no slouch there…HUGE jumps and wheeled off 6 pirouetter for tonight’s performance, finishing in a perfect sous-sous before closing to fifth).  I’m seriously in love with his dancing and Billy Elliot I wish I had his quads.

Together, they had really good chemistry (and I should hope so, considering some of the death-defying lifts they did…EGADS!) and lucky for you here’s a little taste of what I got to see tonight:

Just lovely.

I forgot to mention that I brought my dad to this performance, and let me tell you I was worried about it.  He’s the kind of guy who always falls asleep during movies, and I was prepared to be embarrassed, but he actually stayed awake!  Unfortunately, the fact that he was CHEWING GUM during Act I somehow went unnoticed by my radar, and someone in the row in front of us turned around during intermission and asked him to stop.  Utter humiliation.  Lucky for me, there are always other weird audience members to make one incident less noticeable.  Like the people in the row in front of me who were cheering like it was a baseball game (one lady of which was showing way too much cleavage and the other who said “Kenneth McMillan choreographed his ass off!”), or the people who despite the fact that their seats were closest to an aisle went the long way to get to their seats, making us all stand up in the process.  There was also a couple who brought seat cushions…SEAT CUSHIONS…to a ballet!  Which of course annoyed the people behind them, and so they were told to stop using them.  Also the guy directly in front of me who I’m pretty sure was planning on stalking Carlos after the show (even I’m not that crazy), and the people in front of him who were leaning on the edge of the balcony, making it difficult for him to see, and he kept doing this side to side shifty game to see what was going on.  There was also some family that brought a little girl, approximately 5-6 years in age, which given Manon’s…debaucheristic (is that a word?) and risqué content, comes as a bit of a surprise.  And at the end, during the swamp pas de deux, some woman two seats over was crying hysterically, which is understandable because it’s quite a tragic scene for suresies, but she kept crying through the applause, the reverence, and even after the show was over.  Is it just me, or are audiences REALLY distracting sometimes?  There are days though, that I despise having a detail oriented mind.

So back to the dancing…I can’t think of more to comment on right now (plus my brain is exhausted), and Manon is a difficult ballet to really qualify.  Other then the aforementioned swamp pas de deux, it doesn’t have variations and such that you see in competitions with moves that you expect.  But that’s also the beauty of it…there were so many intricacies it’s a constant visual feast.  Even my dad, who knows nothing about ballet (as we were walking towards the shuttle after the show, he stretched his hand like a pointed foot and said to me “they walk like this!”) appreciated the seamlessness of it all, hence the glorious occasion in which he did not fall asleep (And on an unrelated note, he also said that ballet is definitely something you have to see live to appreciate…I’m actually proud of him for coming to that conclusion!).

As for everything else?  Set design?  Loved.  Costumes?  Loved.  Music?  Gorgeous.  And by the way, I love that it’s called the “swamp pas de deux”…it just sounds funny (and during that scene the fog machines were producing so much fog was rolling into the orchestra and some of the orchestra members were swatting at it so they could see their music.  Teehee)

Oh, and beautiful venue that Kennedy Center Opera House…for inspiration I’ll leave you with an image of its Austrian crystal ceiling (which according to the postcard I bought is comprised of over 130 crystal elements and 2000 light bulbs, and was made by Lobmeyr as a gift from Austria) and pictures of some of Suzanne Farrell’s costumes that are on display just outside the theater (costumes from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “La Sonnambula” and the tutu from the Diamonds pas de deux of “Jewels” fame)

Austrian Crystal Chandelier in the Opera House

Austrian Crystal Chandelier in the Opera House

Costumes from A Midsummer Night's Dream and La Sonnambula

Costumes from A Midsummer Night's Dream and La Sonnambula

Tutu from Diamonds Pas de Deux

Tutu from Diamonds Pas de Deux

Hope that inspired you for the day! (or life)