Last Friday I mentioned that Sheena, Rhiannon, and I were going to attend a ballet for some evening entertainment. I may have also sounded less than enthused about the idea. At this time, I would like to take this opportunity to retract almost all of my lack of enthusiasm*.
I really enjoyed it. I was a little surprised, but in a pleasant way. For those of you who have never attended a professional ballet (in which I was included until last Friday), I will do my best to give a good description.
I think the best way to start is with a game of charades. Imagine a fun party game of charades, were one person stands up in front of everyone else and attempts to act out or otherwise convey some silly or dumb word to the other people without talking, only instead of one person performing the charade with many people gathered around, there are up to 50 people performing and hundreds watching. And the people performing are strangers, not your friends.
And instead of acting out something silly or dumb or describable by one word, they act out a whole story and it takes a couple hours. Instead of wearing everyday clothes in someone’s living room, these people are in costume in an auditorium.
The last time I checked, the costumes for men that involve tights are normally some type of super-hero. Luckily, the difference between your neighbor Bill from down the street and both superheroes and male ballet dancers is that the superheroes and dancers look ok in tights. And I mean tight. If I can see all four parts of a quad muscle from 100 feet away through tights, you know those things are practically painted on. He had muscles on places on his legs I don’t even have places. I would prefer not to see most men in my neighborhood (myself included) in anything less than knee-length baggy shorts.
Luckily, at the theater we attended, there are little informational displays in front of everyone’s seat that tell what is going on. This was helpful because when I look and saw that they were dancing, it really meant that a count had dressed as a peasant in order to better woo a local young maiden. And the next time they were dancing, it meant that the count’s real fiancé found out that this peasant girl and she were involved with the same guy because the hunter man who was really in love with the peasant girl exposed the count who was dressed up as a commoner for what he really was. Which was a count.
Which looking back is really simple… They probably didn’t need those little caption things after all.
Much like characters in a musical are apt to break out in choreographed song and dance at any moment perfectly supported by all surrounding strangers, complete the number, and fall right back into normal conversation as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened, people in ballets are very apt to dance to express almost anything that happens. Who knew?
So, as you can see, ballets are really like a party game of charades with just a few minor differences, and who doesn’t like a fun party game of charades**?
I thought so.
* I still could have used a couple with sticks hitting each other. Even the guy that died in the second act was danced to death. Like I didn’t see that one coming, being as it was a ballet and all. A good stick to the head would have gotten it over with a lot quicker.
** Although the tone of my writing may have been a bit sarcastic with intent to be humorous, I really did enjoy the ballet. Rhiannon and I are making plans to go again next spring. Really. Me and ballet – who would’ve thought?