Jump to content


My First Trip to the Washington Ballet


  • Please log in to reply
29 replies to this topic

#1 YouOverThere

YouOverThere

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 374 posts

Posted 16 February 2013 - 03:08 PM

Having been banished from Colorado, I ended up in Silver Spring, MD. The good news (relatively) is that I'm only about 8 miles from the Sydney Harman Hall (and 9 miles from the Strathmore). I decided to take in the Saturday (Feb. 16) matinee. The 8 miles took about 35 minutes to traverse. Finding parking took more than 35 minutes. There were parking meters within 5-6 blocks, but it would have taken 5 dollars in quarters to park at one of them (in Denver, all the parking meters accept credit cards). I finally found a parking garage for a mere $15 (I paid $5 in Denver).

Despite missing the first third of the performance, I was quite impressed. WB is stronger than the CB on the male side. That being said, I'm not sure that I can endure the stress of going there again. And it's left me wondering whether the reason that they can't sell out a 750-seat theater is because you have to be a hardcore ballet fan to put up with the hassle of attending their performances.

#2 sandik

sandik

    Rubies Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,448 posts

Posted 16 February 2013 - 03:16 PM

Transportation is one of the real differences between east and west coasts, I've found. In Seattle, people think that they should be able to drive pretty much anywhere, and find some parking when they get there (in my family we've named this after our father, who was very adept at finding parking right in front of wherever he was going -- we talk about finding an Allen Kurtz spot). We are gradually shifting to a different model, with better public transit and using parking fees as a way to limit use of cars, which is a contentious process, but we're still primarily a car culture. That's not really the default case in your new home. I'd encourage you to take a look at the transportation choices other people are making to get to the theater, and perhaps even contact the company and ask what they suggest for their audience (PNB in Seattle has that kind of information on their website). And just so you don't feel too awful -- we pay anywhere from $12-$20 to park in a lot or a garage near the theater.

But enough of that -- what did they dance, and what did you think?

#3 California

California

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,480 posts

Posted 16 February 2013 - 03:26 PM

I'm so sorry to hear of your difficulty getting to the Washington Ballet. As a resident of Washington, DC, decades ago, I still miss the wonderful Metro system. Even long ago, it seemed that parking was priced high in town in hopes of encouraging people to use public transportation. The red line runs from Silver Spring to Gallery Place, a couple of blocks from the theater, but perhaps current DC residents could give you better advice on getting into town without all that hassle:
http://www.wmata.com/rail/maps/map.cfm?

#4 lmspear

lmspear

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 163 posts

Posted 16 February 2013 - 04:53 PM

As a DC area resident I can't recommend Metro enough. Harman Hall is smack in the middle of downtown, near museums and a sports arena. The only time I would drive there would be on a week night when the no-parking spaces used for loading spots and in front of business entrances become available at 6:30.

If you decide to see the Washington Ballet at the Kennedy Center, there is a free shuttle bus that runs every 15 mins. from the Foggy Bottom Metro station.

#5 puppytreats

puppytreats

    Gold Circle

  • Inactive Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 751 posts

Posted 16 February 2013 - 04:54 PM

$40 or so in ny

#6 aurora

aurora

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 666 posts

Posted 16 February 2013 - 09:50 PM

$40 or so in ny


We have an excellent subway system (and buses for that matter). As well as taxis.
who drives in nyc?

#7 sandik

sandik

    Rubies Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,448 posts

Posted 16 February 2013 - 10:57 PM


$40 or so in ny


We have an excellent subway system (and buses for that matter). As well as taxis.
who drives in nyc?


Lots of people drive, if the number of cars on the road is any indication. I just don't know how many of them park!

#8 puppytreats

puppytreats

    Gold Circle

  • Inactive Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 751 posts

Posted 17 February 2013 - 05:02 AM

Not everyone lives near the subway

#9 sandik

sandik

    Rubies Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,448 posts

Posted 17 February 2013 - 12:34 PM

Ok, but I still want to know what the company was performing, and how they looked!

#10 YouOverThere

YouOverThere

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 374 posts

Posted 17 February 2013 - 01:34 PM

As a DC area resident I can't recommend Metro enough. Harman Hall is smack in the middle of downtown, near museums and a sports arena. The only time I would drive there would be on a week night when the no-parking spaces used for loading spots and in front of business entrances become available at 6:30.

If you decide to see the Washington Ballet at the Kennedy Center, there is a free shuttle bus that runs every 15 mins. from the Foggy Bottom Metro station.


So you really think that driving a few miles to the Metro station, parking in a free parking lot, taking a 15-minute train ride, and getting dropped off a block from the theater is a better plan than driving on crowded streets with a traffic light every block, circling around for 40 minutes looking for a place to park, spending $15 to park, and walking (or, in my case, limping) a half mile to the theater?

#11 lmspear

lmspear

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 163 posts

Posted 17 February 2013 - 04:29 PM

So you really think that driving a few miles to the Metro station, parking in a free parking lot, taking a 15-minute train ride, and getting dropped off a block from the theater is a better plan than driving on crowded streets with a traffic light every block, circling around for 40 minutes looking for a place to park, spending $15 to park, and walking (or, in my case, limping) a half mile to the theater?


When visiting back home in NY I'm notorious for driving into Manhattan being my first choice of transportation over the Long Island Rail Road.

#12 YouOverThere

YouOverThere

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 374 posts

Posted 17 February 2013 - 04:59 PM


As a DC area resident I can't recommend Metro enough. Harman Hall is smack in the middle of downtown, near museums and a sports arena. The only time I would drive there would be on a week night when the no-parking spaces used for loading spots and in front of business entrances become available at 6:30.

If you decide to see the Washington Ballet at the Kennedy Center, there is a free shuttle bus that runs every 15 mins. from the Foggy Bottom Metro station.


So you really think that driving a few miles to the Metro station, parking in a free parking lot, taking a 15-minute train ride, and getting dropped off a block from the theater is a better plan than driving on crowded streets with a traffic light every block, circling around for 40 minutes looking for a place to park, spending $15 to park, and walking (or, in my case, limping) a half mile to the theater?


Alas, the reason why the parking at the Silver Spring Metro station is listed as costing $0.00 is that there isn't any.

#13 lmspear

lmspear

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 163 posts

Posted 17 February 2013 - 05:25 PM



As a DC area resident I can't recommend Metro enough. Harman Hall is smack in the middle of downtown, near museums and a sports arena. The only time I would drive there would be on a week night when the no-parking spaces used for loading spots and in front of business entrances become available at 6:30.

If you decide to see the Washington Ballet at the Kennedy Center, there is a free shuttle bus that runs every 15 mins. from the Foggy Bottom Metro station.


So you really think that driving a few miles to the Metro station, parking in a free parking lot, taking a 15-minute train ride, and getting dropped off a block from the theater is a better plan than driving on crowded streets with a traffic light every block, circling around for 40 minutes looking for a place to park, spending $15 to park, and walking (or, in my case, limping) a half mile to the theater?


Alas, the reason why the parking at the Silver Spring Metro station is listed as costing $0.00 is that there isn't any.


There is municipal parking in Silver Spring within walking distance of Metro. It is free on weekends.

#14 YouOverThere

YouOverThere

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 374 posts

Posted 17 February 2013 - 05:33 PM

Ok, but I still want to know what the company was performing, and how they looked!


Huh? Talk about ballet?

There were 3 works in the program, 2 of which were premieres.

The featured piece, which they unfortunately opened with so that I missed the first half, was titled Dangerous Laisons and was based on a novel titled Les Laisons Dangereuses, which was written by Pierre Choderlos de Lados in 1782. The choreography was created by the WB's associate artistic director, David Palmer, using music composed by Vivaldi. The novel is about a bored and corrupt aristocrat who likes to humiliate his rivals by seducing their main squeezes. He was lured by a noblewoman to take on a woman who was going to marry the man that the noblewoman had loved. Meanwhile, the noblewoman also sets up her dance instructor to become the dance instructor of her target figuring that he would fall in love with her, which he does. Everyone ends up trying to seduce everyone else, but things end rather badly for the aristocrat when the dance instructor shows a little backbone (and a little swordsmanship).

The dance moved along fairly briskly, which would be necessary because Vivaldi didn't use slow temps very much. The choreography was very much in the classical ballet style. During the half that I saw, there weren't any super-flashy solos, but because of the pace it did take quite a bit of precision. The costumes depicted the time period and were quite nice. Since I attended the matinee, I did not get to see the top pair, but everyone did quite well. They seemed a little more fluid than the Colorado Ballet, though that may have been due to the choreography. The work was probably between 60 and 70 minutes long.

Neither of the other 2 pieces did anything for me. They were both set to popular music, and though the dancing was highly quality throughout, there didn't seem to be much reason for them to exist. The second of these 2, which was choreographed by the increasing well-known Amy Seiwert, was particularly annoying. She used mostly familiar pop tunes, but used recordings by people other than the performers that made the songs well-known, e.g., Journey's Faithfully was sung by someone (or some group) named Matt the Electrician, who sounded more like an electrician than a singer.

I considered going back to see Dangerous Laisons again, but I lost my chance when I tried to figure out how to take the subway rather than drive, though I wasn't excited about paying for the whole show when I had no interest in staying after the intermission.

#15 YouOverThere

YouOverThere

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 374 posts

Posted 24 February 2013 - 11:34 AM

I've made my second trip to the Washington Ballet (should I start a new thread? :) on Friday (2/22). This one didn't go quite as badly. I was only 15 minutes late. Armed with instructions from mapquest, I went straight from the office in Suitland. The directions would have worked better if I had not written down the wrong way to turn at the first intersection. And if I had remembered that since I was leaving after 6:30, the exit from the parking area that I normally use was closed and I was leaving by an exit on a different street. And if I-395 was actually a freeway rather than a construction zone. I would have preferred not to go on a Friday evening, but that was the only show for which they sold tickets for under $55.

They had a different program this weekend. Titled Tour-de-Force, it was basically an exhibition rather than a performance. The first part of the program consisted of individual dances from various ballets, with the (to me) uninspiring Stars and Stripes after the intermission. Some of the dances were quite spectacular. In the Pas de Trois from act 1 of Le Corsaire, the dancer who danced the part of Ali (Brooklyn Mack, I think) nearly hit his head on the ceiling (OK, a bit of an exaggeration, but he could have easily won the NBA slam dunk competition). My favorite, besides this one, was the Pas de Deux from Edwaard Liang's La Offrenda. It was recognizable as one of his works without needing to check the program. The highlight of the first part was supposed to be Nacho Duato's Cor Perdut, but I arrived in time to see only the last minute of it. Stars and Stripes was crisply and energetically danced, but as I said it just doesn't do a whole lot for me.

I'm sure that I will eventually fall in love with this company, but right now it isn't as much fun as going to the Colorado Ballet was. At the Colorado Ballet, the people-watching was half the fun, as it was a big dress-up occasion with women of all ages showing off their Sunday, better make that Saturday evening, best. At the 2 WB performances, the audiences have been almost entirely over 50 and pretty casually dressed (the audience for the Baltimore Symphony at the Strathmore was also casually dressed, which surprised me).


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):