My experience of ballet is limited to watching it on TV as a child at Christmas. My gran enjoyed it and so, when it was on that’s what the TV was tuned to, I vaguely recall trying to stay interested in it but I was no Billy Elliott and I soon retreated to my bedroom to play Scrabble or Monopoly with myself, leaving the men in tights to my gran. That was around 25 years ago and until today I had never watched, or desired to watch ballet.
If anything I can blame Twitter for this dramatic change in me. As I mentioned in an earlier post, ballet/dance entered my life after following a member of the Birmingham Royal Ballet’s staff, Rob Lyndsey, on Twitter and subsequently following links and watching clips on various productions. That led me to buying a ticket for tonight’s performance of Cyrano at Sadler’s Wells Theatre and boy am I glad I did!
Not only were the dancers great dancers, they were great performers. Cyrano had it all; laughter, tears, sword fights, stunning set designs, beautiful costumes, gorgeous women and yes, I believe some of the men wore tights… Initially I was concerned when I discovered it was a 3 hour production. OK, 40 minutes of that was take up by intervals but I was still thinking 2 hours of ballet? What if I get bored and fall asleep? I needn’t have worried, if anything time flew in and no sooner had the second act started when it was time for another interval, I silently growled because I wanted to go straight to act three.
What really surprised me was how something with no words could have so much detail. As an opera fan I’m used to music and words telling the story, here it was music and dance and for once words could have and would have been superfluous. I gained a new found respect for the physical demands, which probably explains the 2 intervals, on the performers. I’m loath to call them dancers because they did much more than dance.
As is so often the case, I’d told myself I didn’t like ballet but I had never given it a chance to be liked, I did feel a little self-conscious sitting alone especially near the end when, please look away now, I started crying but I as I wiped my eyes I noticed I wasn’t the only one shedding tears. Men and women, young and old were moved by both the story and the performance and perhaps they were all silently hoping no one noticed their public tears as well.
All in all I’d have to say Cyrano by the Birmingham Royal Ballet was a great first ballet and it leaves me wondering what will be ballet number two?!