Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The ballet

Oh god, Wednesday was complete chaos- is it a coincidence that Georgia's 5 am wake-up call is always followed by an all round bad day?- around here but despite all that, I managed to make it to the ballet with Ella and it was so worth it. What an amazing show!

La Bayadere is a classic Russian ballet, which was first produced in Paris by Nureyev in 1992 (although he didn't dance in the show, since he was 54 at the time). It is set in India and is the love story of a temple dancer (la bayadere) who falls in love with a prince. The Grand Brahmin, who also loves la bayadere, is jealous and vows to have his vengence. The prince is forced to marry the Rajah's daughter but the Brahmin tries to ruin things by telling the Rajah about the prince's other love. Instead of breaking the fiancailles, the Rajah and his daughter decide to kill the bayadere and after she dances at the engagement party, she is bitten by a snake hidden in a basket of flowers. The Brahmin tries to save the bayadere but the bayadere refuses the antidote when she realizes that the prince will never leave his fiancee. She dies and then comes back to haunt the prince.

Ella loved the dancing and the sets and the costumes, although the story took quite a bit of explaining. I was smart enough to buy a program on our way in, but not smart enough to read the synopsis before the lights when down (oops) so I was forced to ad lib my way through the pantomiming that the dancers did to explain the story. I feel a bit bad for the people seated around us who must have been fed up with our whispering but Ella did make up for it, I think, through her enthusiastic and heartfelt clapping. She even shouted 'Bravo!' at one point, which was adorable.

I did say in one of my posts that we didn't have seats together, but I explained to the ushers that she was sitting with her grandmother and I had a seat apart. Then, once I had figured out which was the better seat, I told the usher that her grandmother hadn't arrived yet, and was it OK for me to sit Ella on my knees until the entracte when she could go with her grandmother? No problem! And in the end, even if I had managed to get seats side by side, she would have been on my knees so that I could explain things. So, alls well that ends well, but it is good to know for future reference that there is a way to get around things if I find myself in this situation again. Honestly, I very nearly gave away the tickets because I wasn't prepared to go all the way there, fight with ushers for 30 minutes, and find out that they were still going to be assholes about Ella sitting in her own seat.

The show was so good that rather than just leave at 8:30 like I had originally planned (it was a school night after all) I let Ella talk me into staying for the second act. It was the engagement party scene and instead of the exposition that made up most of the first act, there was mainly just dancing. The scene was a palace, all decorated in gold, with the domes lit up beautifully. The Prince came riding in on the back of an 'elephant'. There was a dance by a 'golden diety'. They had about a dozen children from the Opera Ecole de Danse participating in the dances. It was perfect for Ella.

If I can sort out my scanner, I'll post a few photos.

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