June 20, 2016

Pas de Trois • Three Nights at the Ballet

When I was a little girl, one of my extracurriculars was ballet. I loved my dance classes, obsessed with the graceful movements that required careful repetition, the promise of glittery tutus and the stage lights shining down on me. I danced for many years of my young life, finally throwing in the towel around the time I moved into high school - and by then, I was actually already en pointe

Even though I stopped dancing myself, I never ever stopped loving the ballet. I still love going to see dancers perform their hearts out on stage, and I don't think that will ever change! So, it was really lovely to discover that Rachel shared my healthy passion for ballet. We ended up buying season tickets for the American Ballet Theater's performances at the Metropolitan Opera, and it was one of the best decisions we've made all year! It basically gave us access to three different shows at a pretty reasonable price, and we were pleasantly surprised by how excellent our seats were. I would definitely do it again next year (and we've already made plans to)!

The first ballet we went to see together was Firebird, with Misty Copeland dancing the main role. There were two other ballets before this one - Seven Sonatas and Serenade after Plato's Symposium. Both were absolutely lovely pieces with some really excellent dancers, though I'll say that Seven Sonatas was my favorite for the simplicity of the set-up (a single pianist and the dancers flitting in and out). But when Firebird was on, every single memory of the ballet before it was swept out of my mind. The music was vibrant and exciting; the set and costumes had strong colors and excellent details. But best of all? The dancers were brilliant, particular Misty (who is seriously such a vibrant dancer, and one you cannot take your eyes off when she's on stage) and Stella Abrera (who danced the role of the maiden). It was such a visual feast for the eyes, and I fell hook, line and sinker for this famous ballet.

The next ballet that we saw was Le Corsaire, with Hee Seo dancing the main role. I actually had no idea what to expect story-wise, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was a fun fantasy romantic romp of a tale. It's the kind of story that gave off a very Disney feel, even though certain elements would probably not make the cut in an actual Disney film... Anyway. I really enjoyed this one! I laughed a lot while I watched it, half because there were some pretty hilarious acting bits and half because I could guess what would happen and it amused me when I was right. While Hee Seo was a beautiful dancer, two of the secondary characters - one danced by Misty Copeland and one of the male dancers - totally stole the show with their powerful, commanding stage presences and dancing. Plus, I was totally in love with the set, the props and the costumes because there was color everywhere! So bright, so vivid and so, so beautiful.

The very last ballet that we went to see for this season was The Golden Cockerel, which was making its American debut, if I recall correctly. I was really looking forward to seeing Stella Abrera (who is a Filipina) dance in a lead role - and she didn't disappoint. She's such a beautiful, graceful presence when she is on stage, and I especially love how she really embodies whatever character she is playing! The story is also pretty interesting, particularly because there is magic involved. While there was actually less dancing than I would've liked, I still enjoyed it. (Also, I've got to mention how funny I thought the kings' sons were - they did a great job with their numbers.) It was, again, beautifully staged with very detailed backdrops, fun props and eye-catching colors for the costumes. I liked this one as well!

If I were pressed to pick a favorite show, I'd have to say that I was partial to Le Corsaire. If you asked me to choose a favorite dancer, I would not be able to decide between Misty Copeland or Stella Abrera, who are both brilliant ballerinas and totally deserved to be promoted to principal dancers with ABT. So, basically, I'm not choosing between them ;) That being said, i loved being able to go and see three different ballet performances with one of my best friends in the whole entire universe and I absolutely cannot wait to do it again next year!


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