As a child, I loved to dance. I even went to modern, ballroom and disco classes, but for some reason I was never allowed to go to ballet. I can remember begging for ballet shoes, one birthday, of which my Mother refused to purchase (no doubt as she wisely knew it was just a passing phase and in another month's time they would be discarded as many of my toys were). I even took out ballet books from the library and learnt all the proper steps (worringly I can still remember some of them!)
So for nostalgia purposes, the ballet was added to my list of things to do and for my birthday this year, my darling husband bought me tickets to see The Nutcracker. He also took me to a restaurant that resembled Fawlty Towers, but that story is for another time and place and not for this particular part of my blog!
The Nutcracker tells the story of a young girl called Clara, who's uncle gives her a toy soldier that magically comes to life whilst she sleeps and turns into a Prince who successfully defeats the Mouse King. The nature of the story and time of year, perhaps attracted a younger audience then I would expect at a ballet performance, therefore we spent most of the first couple of acts repeatingly getting kicked in the back from a bored child behind us - not really what you need for quite an expensive night out!
When I have a relatively easy task on my list to do, I like to gain as much as I can from the experience and decided to emmerse myself into the performance. Not too sure about the first couple of acts, as it tended to be more on the modern side, almost as if someone had said 'express yourself in the freedom of dance', but when the 'real' ballet began it was amazing to watch. The dancers were so agile and the costumes so exquisite. In a Katherine Tate sort of way 'I could do that' I told myself, of course forgetting that I instead of growing upwards, I grew outwards.
My favourite part was in the third act when the ballerinas danced in front of a snow topped tree background and the dance of the sugar plum fairy, after the defeat of the Mouse King. I'm sure every young girl aspired to be the super plum fairy at one stage in their life!
There is a real talent in dancing ballet, of which I don't think you appreciate until you actually watch a performance live. When you imagine the hours of practice it must take to get half as good as the dancers we saw, it exhausts me just thinking about it! I don't feel ballet as a whole is something that I could get totally into, but I would at least like to see another performance, to make a final decision. Swan Lake, here I come!