Wednesday, 2 January 2013

What a cracking performance!

Tonight I did something for the very first time. No, not the fact I went out for a meal without consuming any alcohol to compliment it (thanks to Dry January).

Tonight I went to the ballet.

I have faint memories of some music and ballet dancers from when I was young, but I suspect this was something I watched on television as a child.

I can also recall constant weekly instructions to practice putting our 'hatbox' on top of the 'wardrobe' at ballet lessons as a little girl. Pink leotard, tutu, ballet shoes and a dark grey and pink bag.

However, the closest I've come to the ballet since then is watching Black Swan at the cinema and on DVD.

As part of trying more things in 2013 I decided I wanted to go and watch a production and since I'd seen a brief write up in Stylist magazine about this performance at the London Coliseum, I made my mind up to go.

So after a (somewhat disappointing) meal at a chain Italian restaurant myself and the boyfriend went to watch The Nutcracker.

As a ballet novice what did I think?

Magical, stunning, beautiful, amazing, fantastic, talented, awe inspiring are just a few of the words that spring to mind.

The spellbinding festive feel of Christmas, the excitement of the children awaiting their presents, the darkness of the Mouse King, the jaw dropping talent of the dancers. I was completely hooked.

At times I had tears in my eyes, the same eyes I just could not take off the dancers' nimble feet and flexible legs. Wowed by the spins, lifts and turns, I just did not know where to look next.

Before going I wasn't sure what to expect and was concerned whether ballet would be for me. Would I get bored after a while?

No chance.

The costumes are so beautiful, as a female you felt whisked back to being a little girl wanting to be that magical princess, that fairy, dressed in outfits full of sparkle.

Male dancers leapt across the stage with ease and similarly made a simple job of lifting the ladies who seemed as light as a feather.

The set was strong and scenes were well set out and seemed to seamlessly blend into each other. In particular, the tree change and the end as Clara wakes from her dream were very smooth.

Also my first visit to the Coliseum, I spent the interval alternating between reading the programme and looking up at the ornate decoration of the building (we were in the stalls).

It was lovely to see so many people dressed up too, one thing I always find a bit sad when going to the theatre is how people don't seem to dress up anymore like I can remember when young. Not the case at the ballet, well certainly not tonight anyway.

I'd booked tickets today to see an opera at the same venue, high up and at the back of the upper circle. On visiting today I'm no longer worried as I can tell we'll still have a great - if very different - view.

I've always been one to voice how I'm not into classical music too, but tonight? I found the music beautiful and found myself surprised how many pieces I recognised and liked.

All in all I loved it. The costumes, the dancing, the venue, the music, the characters, the story, the young children, the adults, the male, the female, the orchestra, the sets.

I did note earlier today when looking at the ENO site that the next production is Sleeping Beauty, again by the English National Ballet company and if I can get back in the Coliseum again to see it before the opera next month I'm going to make I'm there!

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