June 26, 2017

Dance! Dance! Dance! • Three Nights at the Ballet

I love going to the ballet! Rachel & I once again secured season tickets for the American Ballet Theatre's performances at the Metropolitan opera this year. (You can check out last year's post if you're curious!) We chose our three shows - Giselle, Swan Lake and Onegin - based on the dates, the dancers we wanted to see in the lead role (Misty Copeland and Stella Abrera, who are our favorites!) and the story behind each show. And I must say that all three were incredible! I'm so glad we decided to do this again, and look forward to securing next year's season tickets for another three nights at the ballet.

I had heard of Giselle prior to seeing it, but this was the first time I'd ever seen it performed - and it was breathtaking. It certainly leaned heavily towards the classical orchestration and dance techniques, but Stella Abrera was transcendent as the lovely, innocent, romantic lead Giselle. I couldn't take my eyes off of her whenever she was onstage, and I'm sure many of the people in the audience felt the same way. (Also, this story is so tragic, which surprised me considering how lighthearted the beginning of it happens to be.)

I was so excited about Swan Lake, mostly because it's my favorite ballet ever. (Fun fact: I actually performed in our ballet school's edition of Swan Lake when I was little. There are videos and photos somewhere...) It was such a treat to see the story I know and love so well come to life so beautifully onstage. It was also surprisingly nostalgic to hear the music I was so familiar with (partly because of childhood memories and partly because I listen to the ballet every so often). I certainly think Misty Copeland was a powerful choice for Odette/Odile (and I loved the danse des petits cygnets).

Onegin was a surprise, and in the best way, too. The music, first of all, is equal turns playful and heartfelt with every note. The dancing, second of all, was phenomenal, with plenty of nods to the classical techniques but also a lot more movement and speed than I'm accustomed to seeing on the stage. The story, third of all, reminded me of a historical romance novel (and had me craving one while I watched it). And, fourth and probably most important of all, Stella Abrera was breathtaking. She transformed into Tatiana in front of our eyes, dancing in a way that was fluid and graceful, passionate and impossible to look away from. There's a particular moment - Act I, Scene II - where she had me feeling all the ups and downs of her character's feelings, and it was so perfect. In case you couldn't tell, I really enjoyed this one, especially because of Stella and her dancing.

I'm really glad that Rachel & I did this for a second year - and look forward to many  more years of our summer ballet tradition to come. Have you ever been able to see a ballet performance by the American Ballet Theatre? What's your favorite ballet?


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