Friday, December 16, 2011

My First "Nutcracker," My First Ballet

How any little girl goes to the ballet and doesn't leave wanting to be a famous ballerina herself, I'll never know. I left my first ballet Saturday with dreams of pirouettes and plies, and I'm 30.

And starting out with "The Nutcracker," as I did, would make it even tougher on a girl. After all, a good quarter of the dancers on stage are young enough that they may still believe in Santa. It all looks so accessible. That is, until you see the grace and discipline behind the art, and then see the world-class adult ballerinas on stage with them, with the same qualities amplified.

New York City Ballet's performance of "The Nutcracker" was amazing. Tchaikovsky's score was magical, Balanchine's choreography beautiful and the costumes sublime. I left Lincoln Center convinced that I've simply wasted the last four years in New York -- not to mention the previous eight years in Columbus -- never having been to the ballet.

"The Nutcracker" was a perfect ballet for a newbie like me, there more for the pixie dust than the technique (although plenty of the latter was on display as well). Paul had seen the show as a boy and remembered bits and pieces, but we were both surprised by how much of the music we recognized --more from mayonnaise commercials and the like in my case than anything more than a passing familiarity with classical music.

Needless to say, I enjoyed myself thoroughly. I'm not ready to get season tickets, but I am ready to return to the ballet, and soon.

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