Shared Joy is Twice the Joy, Shared Pain is Half the Pain

At the Ballet

♫Everything was beautiful at the ballet/ Graceful men lift lovely girls in white/                   Yes, everything was beautiful at the ballet/ I was happy… at the ballet.

I may or may not have had this song stuck in my head yesterday while I was trying and failing to get work done in the library. And then Tara’s message pops up: “want to go to the ballet tonight?” And college is all about spontaneous decisions, or so I’ve heard. So I, of course, said yes!

Sleeping Beauty

It was about 5:30 when she messaged me, and the show started at 7:30, so I finished that one assignment (amazing what a good motivator having something to do can be…), and rushed back to my room to get spruced up and head out. One hour later, we had our $20 rush tickets, our burritos for dinner, and were getting ogled on the streets of Boston. It was wonderful.

And then, of course, came the ballet itself. I’ll be really honest, I’ve seen a lot of ballets. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen The Sleeping Beauty, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard all the music. And the production was absolutely amazing.

I’ve definitely ruined all theater-going experiences for myself by being involved in theater. Maybe not ruined, okay – definitely not ruined. But I certainly watch everything in a completely different way. I’m always noticing how the lights are designed, where actors and actresses exit, how fast their changes are; not to mention that I spend half my time calling my own mental cues. It doesn’t ruin a performance, but it absolutely changes them.

I don’t go to the ballet very often, but when I do go, I always wonder why I don’t go more often. I am always awed by the choreography and the skill with which the dancers perform. And I always walk away hoping I can bring some of that beauty into my classes. Last night’s show, more than any other ballet I have ever seen, instilled in me a bottomless sense of beauty.

The girl dancing as Aurora was something beyond anything I have ever seen. She had impeccable balance, beautiful leaps, gracious arms. Literally everything I ever imagined a professional ballerina should be. And I swear, she couldn’t have been over 21 years old.

Beyond Aurora, all the dancers were amazing, and the sets were fabulous, the lighting set moods with such ease, the costumes, oh! Absolutely stunning. Each dancer must have had at least a half dozen costumes, ranging from full skirts to pancake tutus, with crowns and garlands, and period style shoes. My favorite costume was Princess Aurora’s white pancake tutu; the one with the pink overlays, not the gold one.

Every time I see men jumping, I am amazed anew by the power and speed of their jumps. I will never forget the image of those six male dancers leaping in unison, each of their entrechat quatre looking like a dozen beats. (They were four – I counted. I counted a lot of beats, and a lot of spotting…) And yet, with all their strength and speed, they are incredibly graceful. Even lifting their partners, even holding them with just one hand, they never look anything but graceful.

The beauty of the ballet was stunning. Everything was beautiful. Graceful men, lovely girls in white.

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