Many of you might be surprised to learn that I took ballet once. I don’t claim to be the most graceful person in the world, yet there I was with my best friend in elementary school in a full session of ballet classes. My friend and I squirmed our way through the classes, trying to keep up with the rest of the kids in our class. It was probably a real sight to see.
Unfortunately I can’t really remember much beyond our final performance. Perhaps this is because, unsurprisingly, I didn’t enjoy ballet (or because my friend and I were something like seven years old). I’m not sure my friend did either. Nonetheless, we stuck it through the classes to make our (paying) mothers proud. What do I remember? I very clearly remember the final performance in which I felt tortured with having to wear a prickly white unitard and tutu complete with a little blue sequined butterfly by the collar of my dress. I had such a hard time concentrating on my performance because my polyester and tulle costume was itching me to death. I remember the performance had finally finished and my mom wanted all these photos of me in my pretty little dress and I was crying because I couldn’t stand being in the outfit any more than I needed to be.
Needless to say, that was the last time I was seen near any sort of ballet. It wasn’t really a traumatizing experience, just not one I wanted to repeat. I didn’t have any more of an interest in ballet after that, except for maybe watching this classic section from the Disney movie, “Fantasia:”
So it was kind of a pleasant surprise to me when I not only attended a ballet last night, but I actually enjoyed it too. Sure, I wasn’t performing in the show, but the dancing in the Kennedy Center’s hosting of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba really grabbed my attention. I was captivated by this cultural experience. The dancing was in sync and the dancers were very engaging. They displayed both strong and gentle movements. I went with my mom who commented that at times the women seemed to be like marionettes in the hands of their men dance partners. I witnessed impossible balancing, dizzying spins, and narrative stories.
But lest I forget the magnificent costumes! The women’s costumes didn’t stick to the typical tulle tutus that so many people think of when they think of ballet. This ballet company from Cuba instead gave us dramatic costumes with extremely horizontal and flat pancake-like skirts which just added to the drama of the dances. Of course, this wasn’t the only type of costume the women wore, but it was probably the most memorable.
The men’s outfits were pretty memorable, but for a different reason. If you enjoy looking at a sculpted man’s legs and butt, then I would definitely recommend going to a ballet. Some of those men’s tights were beyond tight and left very little to the imagination. One man’s tights were so tight they thoroughly filled in the crack in his behind, outlining every muscle and feature he had below the belt. It was pretty distracting, but I didn’t mind either. I swear, if any of those men had had their legs body painted white (while yes, wearing a cup), you probably wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference.
I was also a fan of the live orchestra and the beautiful music which definitely added to the performance. Apparently some ballet companies use pre-recorded music, which would be quite a disappointment to experience, especially after the joy of seeing the orchestra last night. So if you get a chance to see this Cuban ballet company in the last few days before the run ends on June 5th, I would recommend you attend. Plus, the show wasn’t long, so you don’t have to feel tied down to sitting through a show that seems like it will never end. All in all, I had a pretty enjoyable evening at the ballet. I was entertained, I felt cultured, and I got to ogle at good-looking men. A success if you ask me. I might even find myself willing to go to another ballet in the future.