Sunday, February 8, 2009

Balanchine's Jewels: A Ballet Lesson

My Christmas present in 2007 from Robb was the promise to take me to any ballet I wanted to. It was important to me to choose a ballet that I hadn't seen or hadn't performed in before, but it also had to be a classic ballet. So I kept checking the Pacific Northwest Ballet's website until I found the perfect show, which took over a year! So February 1 (also Superbowl Sunday), we headed to Balanchine's Jewels.
I was impressed with the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Their home is McGraw Hall at the Seattle Center, right next to the Space Needle. McGraw Hall was really lovely and the lobby was beautiful with an amazing, whimsical sculpture hanging down. I also really appreciated the bar available for intermissions. Before the ballet there was a 30 minute free lecture to discuss the ballet, George Balanchine, and answer any questions the audience had. And if the Superbowl hadn't already started, we would have stayed after the ballet for the Q&A with one of the dancers. Apparently they do this for every ballet, except Nutcracker. I think it's a real nice touch and a great way for people to learn more about ballet.
Balanchine is a famous choreographer,with the bulk of his work in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. In 1967 he created Jewels. Jewels is a full-length, abstract (meaning no story) ballet in three acts: Emeralds, Rubies, and Diamonds. Each act represents a different style of ballet. Emeralds represents the romantic French ballet of the 18th century. Rubies was an American-stylized ballet, with a more jazzy or chorus line feel. And Diamonds was a stunning representation of Russian classical ballet; when you think of ballet, this is what you think of. It was really fascinating to see the different styles of music, costumes, and dance styles. I had a great time and I don't think Robb was too bored.

After the ballet we headed to a bar so we could watch the rest of the Superbowl. We walked in right after the 2nd quarter started, so we didn't miss too much. We enjoyed a few beers, some nachos, and watched a decent game. Football and ballet: all in all, a good day.

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