Posted 14 November 2003 - 08:54 AM
I've never been adept at expressing myself verbally about any kind of art--to me, the arts are experienced at a much deeper level of my being, but I'll give this a try. The first time I ever remember seeing any kind of ballet as a child was on TV. I remember seeing Edward Villella guesting on The Odd Couple (I think), and I was totally entranced by his looks, his energy and graceful athleticism, and to my adoring pubescent eyes, his sexuality. Many years later, I still have so much to learn about ballet, but I have always looked at what I guess would be called the line of a dancer first, and the beauty of the human body as it moves with such apparent ease through space. Tie this together with the auditory experience of the music, and I'm in heaven. As my daughter has gotten more & more involved with ballet, I've begun watching more little things--placement & line of the feet, the "softness" of beautiful arm movements, the use of the upper body.
One of my more embarrassing memories of watching ballet happened a few years back when my daughter was about 6 or 7. I had volunteered to help backstage with our local pro company, keeping watch over a small group of young girls in the production (including my daughter.) With another mother, my main duties were sheperding these girls from their dressing room when the backstage coordinator called us, escorting them to the wings, and then escorting them back to the dressing room as soon as they finished their part. There was a beautiful pas de deux following the scene the girls were in, and I started watching the dancers without even being aware of it, or aware of anything else, for that matter. After the pas was finished, I looked around and noticed with some embarrassment that I was alone in the wings except for the technical people and a few company dancers. The other mother, luckily, had taken the girls back to the dressing room. My daughter, of course, will never let me live this down, and still occasionally reminds me of it. I still enjoy watching a ballet from the wings, but have learned to not let myself get so lost in what I'm seeing!