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What was the first ballet that you ever...


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either attended, were taken to, or brought your children, or a "significant other" who had never been to one before, to see?

If possible, let's not count Nutcrackers. ;) Okay, if it was a "Nutcracker" that's fine...but then try to include the next one as well - if there was a "next one"... And please, feel free to elaborate!

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Can I count the first one I ever went to by myself ?

I was 21 and for my birthday my boyfriend of the time said he would take me to see the ballet, or I could get the best seats in the house if I went all by myself! I knew he'd rather be at home in front of the TV watching the football! So I said I'd go on my own.

There I was, sitting between two old ladies in the Edinburgh Festival Theatre watching the Kirov do La Bayadere and it was one of the best nights I've ever had in my life! The old ladies gave me sweets and we had an excellent view of the stage. I was transfixed, it was also the first time I'd seen a classical ballet done by a company that wasn't Scottish Ballet. Me and the old ladies went especially crazy for the Gold Idol, who was very sexy indeed!;)

Since then I do like to go to the ballet by myself sometimes. I went to the Royal Opera House by myself for the first time two Christmases ago to see Swan Lake with Darcey Bussell and that was also very exciting indeed. There is something great about 'discovering' ballets and companies and venues all by yourself.

It's just as well I am happy doing this as I find it impossible to convince my non-ballet friends to spend their evenings in the theatre.

Although I am about to do another 'first' tomorrow - well, two really! I am meeting Lolly and Anoushka (from BA, for the 1st time) and going to see NYCB (never seen them before) at Sadler's Wells (never been there before!) Sorry that was 3! Very cool anyway.:)

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My first ballet was an ABT (then just BT) performance of Giselle with Carla Fracci and Erik Bruhn.

I was in my junior year at Queens College and wanted to expand my cultural horizons after having spent the summer touring Europe as part of a National Student Association group. Prior to that time, I had only seen Broadway musicals and plays. My family was not in the ballet/opera/classical music orbit.

Wow!! I had never seen anything so magical as that Giselle. The performance made me want to find out more about this beautiful world. I was hooked, and have stayed hooked on ballet for more than thirty-five years!!! And those Fracci/Bruhn Giselles remained the gold standard for me until the Makarova/Nagy pairing ten years later.

And eventually I found my way to New York City Ballet and Balanchine ballets. . .

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I was 10 years old, and a friend of my parents took me to see Coppelia, performed by Sadlers Wells Ballet in Miami Beach, FL. Between that and the film of The Red Shoes, which was somewhere around the same time, I was totally and completely hooked and never looked back. Ballet has been my life ever since. It was before that, but I didn't know it until then :(

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I think I was about seven years old, and my folks decided I should see "real ballet" and not a matinee, so I got a rare privilege to stay up late AND go out to a show, but all I recall was one horrifying ballet that was on the program. "Opus 34"!

Between the atonal music, the scary operating room sequence and the frightening moment when all the stage lights were shone directly out at the audience, I was scared whatsisless! My mother recalled that I didn't stop shaking for the rest of the night, and had nightmares for weeks afterward. My father didn't stop shaking for three DAYS, and continued to chase visions from the ballet in his sleep for about the same period of time, judging from his sleep-talking!;)

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It was ABT on tour during the 1961-62 season when I was 5. I remember the bill had part of Swan Lake, Les Patineurs and something else. I wanted to be one of the dancers in Les Patineurs because I loved their costumes. I still have the program. I believe Eleanor D'Antonio was Odette.

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Mel Johnson is too discreet to mention it, but Opus 34 was by Balanchine, to music of Schoenberg. The entry in Repertory in Review begins, "A Balanchine 'weirdie' and no two ways about it." The reviewer Robert Sylvester is quoted, "The new ballet could better be called 'Operation Ghastly.'" Thank God I never saw it, but Major Johnson deserves a lot of credit for overcoming this traumatic event.

I came to ballet late, at almost 30. My friend Alice took me to the Kirov at the Met in 1961 and we saw Swan Lake. I loved it and wondered "How long has this been going on?" As I've said on earlier threads, soon after that she took me to NYCB, and we saw Raymonda Variations. That's when I was really hooked. Soon after that we were married.

Apropos the references to Nutcracker at the start of this thread, a friend of mine says he sat next to a woman at a performance a couple of years ago who told him she'd been going to Nutcracker annually for a long time, starting with when she used to take her daughter. On this occasion she was there with her granddaughter. So he asked her if she ever went to NYCB repertory performances. "No. I don't like ballet," she said.

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I remember the dancers I saw most vividly, but not the ballet! I hope that will do? I know it was Balanchine. Violette Verdi, Conrad Ludlow, NY State Theatre sometime between 1962 and 1964, I am not sure which. It does not matter at all actually. What is important is that the feeling from Violette has stayed with me to this very day. She was awe inspiring and remains to be so to this very day. I forgot to report that I was able to see her film and meet with her again two weeks ago and she is still as lovely and as inspiring as ever!:( May I too have this ability as I grow wiser with the years.

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I just found your picture in the program! In the Swan Lake pages -- perhaps I did see you.

It was definitely either Etudes or Theme and Variations -- not Billy the Kid. I believe it was Theme and Variations, but I'm not positive. I remember thinking that the photograph in the program from Billy the Kid (of one of the principals I believe) looked so thrilling that I was disappointed I wasn't seeing it.

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The first ballet performance I saw was the opening gala of the Biennale de Lyon in the fall of 1992, when I was 17. I had become more and more interested in ballet in the months before, reading everything I could about it, and had finally managed to convince my parents to book some tickets for it. The program included all sorts of things, if I remember correctly it began with a solo of traditional basque dancing (the theme of the Biennale that year was "Pasion de Espana"). Among the ballet works it included, there was "Diana and Acteon" by Julio Bocca and an Argentinian dancer whose name I have forgotten, a solo from Massine's "Le Tricorne" danced by Patrick Dupond, the pas de deux from "Esmeralda" danced by Agnes Letestu and Nicolas Le Riche (both in the corps de ballet then) and the pas de deux from "Don Quichotte" by Monique Loudières and Patrick Dupond. I also remember vividly Jose Limon's "Chaconne" danced by Jean Guizerix.

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I'm not sure what the first ballet I saw was, as I was taken to see ballet from a very early age, and I have odd images of Petrushka and Coppelia in my head. In fact, I'm not sure whether some of these images are memories or pictures from my mother's old ballet books. One performance that is definitely a memory is of CAPAB Ballet (from Cape Town, South Africa) performing in a Revlon sponsered evening. Each ballet was connected to a different perfume: I recall a 'modern' ballet with girls in blue leotards - the Charlie ballet and a 'romantic' ballet with girsl in pastel tulle skirts - the Jontue ballet!! I was very impressed, and definitely would have preferred to be a Jontue girl rather than a Charlie girl!! It must have been in the late '70s and I would have been about 5 then.

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I can't remember the first one either (too young) - I have childlike memories of the Nutcracker, which I haven't seen for years (but I'm going this year!), Swan Lake and Coppelia, but always full length ballets, never triple bills or anything else. I used to have a ballet book which had a picture of Margot Fonteyn in full Odette costume, and I wanted to be her so much :( .

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Swan Lake in 1973, under the stars in the Cour Carrée of the Louvre. I was 16, biking through France with other teens. We happened upon the performance one night, and watched from the fence until we got shooed away. Several of us returned the next night for the full performance.

It was breathtaking. Magical. Rudolf Nureyev and Natalia Makarova. What I remember best was the corps of swans just .... undulating their way across the stage.

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Mine would definitely have been the Scottish Ballet, at Hull New Theatre. I was probably about 10, but I don't know which ballet I saw first ... Swan Lake or maybe Peter Pan. I loved Peter Pan and I still remember now what the scenery was like, and the mime scene at the end where a little girl in her nightie flew away with Peter.

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These memories and your vignettes are wonderful and very touching - from the inspiring, to the fear inducing!

I wish I could remember the first ballet I attended - sadly I don't recall the name...but I would say that it was in 1980 or possibly '81? I was out of college and someone invited me to see Natalia Makarova...I believe it was at City Center...I remember the theater had a small feeling to me. I recall being amazed...and I loved the music. Later, we "dined" at The Pen and Pencil. :)

Hard to believe that I took me, almost, 18 more years before I went to see another professional ballet company perform! What could I have been doing with all my free time?!? It took my daughter's love to bring me back for more...and now I'm hooked.

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Same for me, BW. After that first experience, I think I went once in about 1981, and then not again until 1998. On that occasion, the Joffrey kindly "paid" the Nutcracker kids with some free tickets to the fall performance. I remember thinking, "What have I been missing all these years?!". Now I subscribe to the Joffrey, I look for ballet performances when I travel ... and yes, it's due to my kids' interest.

Here's an anecdote for you: My dad was doing a crossword puzzle and got stuck on some ballet term, which I supplied. He said, "Well, I would have gotten it if I'd had a daughter who loves ballet." He was referring to my kids, of course. Replied I, "You DO have a daughter who loves ballet ...

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The first time I ever went to a ballet performance was in June this year, so it wasn’t too long ago. I had just turned 18 and I was on a school trip in Rome; I saw the poster hanging in almost every shop window in the city, saying that “Romeo and Juliet” would be performed by the National Ballet in a theatre called “Il Sistina”. I was so desperate to see this performance that my teachers agreed to join us if one of my friends and I would buy the tickets, etc. So, on June, 26th, one day before we left for Germany, I was sitting in the theatre and watching the premier of the piece. Actually the performance wasn’t sold out although there were Monica Perego from the English National Ballet and Raffaele Paganini, who e.g. danced with the Zurich Ballet, dancing the leading roles. It was just during the performance that I realized that it was a modern piece where no pointe shoes were used, but it was something different from the classical ones that I used to watch on TV. Even though you could see some mistakes (the dancers weren’t always on time when they were supposed to dance the same steps) it was so amazing to see triple tours and jetés and the Italian audience was so much different from German one; they were cheering and clapping like mad at the end of each act :).

During the performance but especially before it began, I felt sort of excited or even nervous, as I always do no matter if I’m about to see ballet, opera or a play; I guess it’s just that special feeling when you sit in the theatre and try to think of what’s going to happen and then the lights go out and the artists enter the stage. That is always a great moment. :)

I enjoyed the night so much that I now try to see ballet performances regularly in Düsseldorf and Cologne, and I may be able to write some reviews about them in the “International companies” or “Recent performances” section, although I’m not able to write as distinguished about ballets as other members on this board :o.

Sorry, that this post is so long, but I still love to write about this event because it was so amazing to me.:D

Svenia :)

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Thank you so much for telling us about your first live ballet experience - even if it did turn out to be a bit more "modern" than you had expected!;)

It is exciting even to be just sitting in the audience, waiting for the orchestra to play, the lights to dim and the curtains to part. Some might call it "magic"!

Please do continue to write...and by all means tell us what else you're seeing. :)

P.S. Treefrog, I can just see your father making that remark!;):o

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My first ballet was a studio run through of 'Les Sylphides' that my teacher allowed me to watch after my Saturday morning class. I was nine years old, when I watched the rehearsal danced in practice clothes by a regional, non professional company in South Miami, FL.

Though I have since attended ballets at The MET, and Kennedy Center and even the Bolshoi Theatre, that Saturday morning studio run through in Miami might still be the most special ballet memory I have.

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I believe the first ballet I ever saw was the national Japanese company doing Swan Lake. Yoko Mori****a was Odette/Odile. The first ballet/dance performance I remember really well, though, was Alvin Ailey. I had seen ballet before but I hadn't seen anything like Ailey. It was my first viewing of "Revelations" and Judith Jamison. Wow.

The first dance performances I've taken my husband to were to see Hubbard Street from Chicago and Alvin Ailey (who of course did Revelations but also Lar Lubovitch's "Bolero.") Both of those companies came through Madison, Wisconsin which is where we were living at the time.

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the VERY first ballet i saw was Ruth Page's Nutcracker, in about 1971, with guest artists Helgi Tomasson and Violette Verdy in Chicago at the Arie Crown Theater at McCormick Place. But the first one after that was ABT's production of David Blair's Swan Lake, with Royes Fernandez and Eleanor d'Antuono, on tour, at either the Auditorium Theater or the Lyric Opera in Chicago (can't recall somehow! :) )

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My very first ballet came on a trip to New York in the early Sixties, when my parents happened to stumble on someone selling four tickets outside City Center for NYCB's Nutcracker. They kept the program, but unfortunately, the leads could've been any one of three pairs listed, and I certainly don't remember! I do like reading now the mention of a "Susan Farrell" in the corps of snowflakes, though. All I remember is the red velvet of the seats, the falling snow, the moving bed, and the Nutcracker's transformation into the Prince. And, of course, the Tree.

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