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Going it alone, before the downbeat, etc.

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The thread “What was the first ballet you attended” had a number of intriguing posts:

Kate B wrote: “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.”

This can be a lot of fun. One can concentrate completely on the opera or ballet at hand and not on the “eventness” of attending as a couple or part of a group. Also can leave early or go backstage late without having to coordinate with others. It would be more fun if there were ladies with sweets generally available.

Victoria Leigh wrote:

“Ballet has been my life ever since. It was before that, but I didn't know it until then”

Glad you brought that up. The first time I saw a ballet was “Swan Lake”, ABT, Ivan Nagy and the Divine Miss NM, the Auditorium Theater in Chicago, probably 1969 or 1970. The music was familiar, of course, but the movement onstage was quite new to me. But I loved it so much from the very beginning (and was totally hooked by the time the curtain fell at the end) that it was as if there was a Kantian a priori predisposition to respond to classical ballet. I didn’t have to learn to love it—only to see it once to know that I loved it.

Svemaus wrote:

“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.”

An electric moment of anticipation—program read, cough drops unwrapped, 'who is wearing what' checked out and commented upon...and the orchestra tunes to the “A” and we move into a different time and place. It is great to know that the magic is about to begin, even if it will be the fourth or fifth time that week for a particular opera or ballet. I love it.

And Svemaus, please post your impressions to the board of ballets you attend. They will be most welcome.

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As the mother of a dancer who used to live quite some distance away, I would often "go it alone." I'd fly out to see performances throughout the year and many times her father was unable to go with me.

I still go by myself, often to see the same program on Sunday afternoon that I saw the evening before with my husband sitting in the orchestra. But on Sunday I'll get a different perspective and try one of the balconies or family circle. And, this way I get to see different casts do the major roles too.

I'll be honest, I enjoy those times when I'm alone most, there are no distractions -- once the lights go down and the curtain goes up its just me watching these wonderful beautiful dancers on stage, it really is magic.

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I like going to the ballet alone, provided I see people I can talk to at intermission -- among them Ballet Alerters Bobbi and Morris Neighbor. But I also like going with others. I'm going to Washington alone later this month for the Farrell season, but of the five performances I have tickets for, I'm going solo only once. That will probably be the night I go backstage. I still get that feeling of nervous excitement before the curtain goes up, regardless of how often I've seen the ballets on the program, and whether or not I'm accompanied.

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There are advantages both to going solo and with someone. I enjoy having someone along to share the experience, but there have been times when I've appreciated being able to dash out of my seat while the curtain calls are still going on, churlish behavior though that is, or even skipping out early on some turkey of a triple bill that I'd probably have to sit through out of politeness if I had a guest.

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