Category Archives: BALLET

Blagging the Bolshoi

I did it! And these tickets are scorching hot. On the rare occasion that the Russian Bolshoi Ballet Company come to London, fanatics pay hundreds of pounds and book six months ahead for their seats. They’ll queue outside from 5am for cancellations on the day, desperate for a chance to see the world’s most prestigious ballet company in action. I found out they were in town last night, and by mid morning had blagged a seat for tonight’s performances of Giselle and Serenade, from which I have just returned.

So what’s the big deal? (You might ask). Yes, I hated those pretty little blonde girls in ballet class. I dreamt of throwing my ballet shoes in my teacher’s face and playing football with the boys. Apparently I’ve discovered my feminine side since then.

Even if, like me, you really don’t know that much about ballet, there’s no reason to feel like it’s in anyway exclusive. At the foot of these dancers you’ll be immediately entranced, with or without your consent, regardless of your knowledge of ballet’s cultural heritage. Giselle is a classic ballet in two acts, usually performed alone. But tonight it was preceded by a performance of Balanchine’s 25-minute Serenade, and for me I must say this was the highlight of the evening. It’s a dance with no plot, yet somehow I was in tears from beginning to end, and quite unable to control myself. Am I even allowed to admit that? Probably not.

But I found it fascinating that without plot, drama or theatrical interaction with the audience of any kind, Serenade moved me so much more than the main event. The minimal midnight blue stage, subtle moonlight setting off the beautiful handmade costumes, the impeccable conducting of Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings… All of this emphasises the power and fluidity of the movement, the perfect synchronisation, and the purity of the dance that has somewhere worked its way into my soul, without my noticing. Bastard! I do not gush easily. But this was like the waters of Lake Atitlan personified. Or something…

Incidentally, I passed this shop window in Paris just last week – a pure coincidence, but definitely a sign. Just thought I’d share it.