Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Mother knows best

I remember the first time my Mum took me to the ballet.

Let me rephrase that.

I remember the first time my Mum dragged me to the ballet.

She had decided she was going to culture me and the first stop was the ballet. You can imagine the response she got from a very non-girly 12/13 year old.

“Oh my god it’ll be sooooo booooooooooooring” was most likely the response.

(This was a time in my life when I refused point blank to watch black and white films because they were ‘sad’. Aren’t we charming little things when we’re young?)

My Mum has never been the kind of mother where we were allowed to make our own decisions and do our own thing. Actually that’s a little harsh, we were absolutely allowed to make our own decisions and do our own thing, just not when it clashed with what she’d decided we were going to do.

I was going to the ballet.

We took our seats in Hull New Theatre (as far as I was concerned this place opened at Christmas for the pantomime and that was its only raison d’etre) and I sat deep in the throes of stroppiness that only you can conjure up when you’re a hormonal teenager.

“Why don’t you go and look in the pit?” suggested Mum. Most likely as an excuse to get my petulant face out of slapping distance.

Off I mooched to the front of the stage and peered down at the orchestra. I did a secretive inside jig at seeing the viola players.

(At school I started off torturing the violin but they had the cunning plan to move me to the viola when I reached senior school. “You see your arms are so long you might find the viola more comfortable” They told me. In actual fact, they had no viola player in the string group and orchestra and I was an easy target. Don’t play the viola. For a start no-one bloody knows what it is. I used to describe it as a fat violin but that led to people thinking of me as the Fat Violin Player – not a good thing. Actually it’s far better than a violin, much less screechy. Unless I played it. This is a long aside, I should wrap it up now.)

As the curtain went up I was beginning to think the ballet might not be so bad. I did like music after all.

First thing that struck me about the ballet? They’re so freaking loud! They look so graceful floating through the air and spinning about on one leg. The reality? Those wooden blocks in their shoes make a hell of a lot of noise. They have all these lovely graceful arms and lovely long legs and then as they’re running around they’re going “BANG BANG BANG BANG”. It rather spoils the effect.

Second thing that struck me about the ballet?

I couldn’t tell you because I was totally absorbed from start to finish. My cold teenage heart was melted and I was forced to do something I have always hated doing...

Admit my mother was right.

I think the thing that draws me in the most is the music. I don’t sit at home and whack on a bit of classical music but when I do hear it, it always draws me in. I’ve never been able to understand how someone could sit down and write all that music for all those instruments and have it not only sound good, but be able to tell a story. I had to write 2 pieces of music for my GCSE and could barely put two notes together, let alone describe the prince searching for his beloved through the use of a violin and piccolo.

Anyway, since that fateful day I have been to see a few ballets – the Nutcracker’s still out there as the lead, especially the last time I went to see it, wish I could remember which ballet company it was as I would give them credit. But I can’t.

Anyway this post had a purpose, what the hell was it?

Aaah yes. So. A couple of weeks ago I read on Hayley’s blog that she’d been to see Sleeping Beauty, performed by the Russian State Ballet of Siberia. I had a look on their website and lo and behold, they would be performing a week later in the grand city of Hull.

Last year for my birthday, the boyfriend promised me that he would buy me tickets to go the ballet. 10 months later I decided to take him up on that offer. “Birthday present please” I demanded. “And don’t go thinking that if you get me this, it counts as an early birthday present for this year. YOU. PROMISED.”

Naturally the boyfriend obliged because he’s nice like that. Only problem was that it started at 7.30pm and he probably wouldn’t be back from work by that time. Who else could I take?

The Mum. Figured I could pay her back for being right in the first place.

And nearly 15 years on you would think that I wouldn’t laugh at the principal male’s bulge in his lyrca pants.

I try to be mature about it but really. It’s like, in your face. You can’t help but look.

And FYI Russian State Ballet of Siberia. When I imagined the Prince fighting his way to Sleeping Beauty he was a pretty masculine chappy, seeing off evil Fairies and the like. He did not have a pink silk cape and glitter in his hair. I’m just saying.

Anyway, you might think it’ll be boring. You might think it’s a bit gay. But, if the chance arises, give it a go and you too can laugh at men’s crotches and thumping ballerinas.


Hayles said...

Yes, the Prince did put me off a bit, being a bit ~*sparkly*~.
I am not ashamed to admit, I was childish enough to giggle at the padded crotchal area.

Petit Filoux said...

Gosh it's been years since I've been to see a ballet, I was dragged to the ballet by my mum too! Oh mums, they're quite special!


Those were the days being draged where we didn't want to go! Kx

PinkCat said...

This made me smile! Although I must admit I've never had to be dragged to the ballet. I can't remember a time when I've not loved it. I like the escapism and beautiful music. Wouldn't life be better if we just danced around all day wearing lots of pretty sparkly clothes? x

mooncalf said...

Ballet is ACE. I never saw it until I was about 25 and was instantly converted.

I highly recommend any cutting-edge experimental ballet. For one thing it is always a lot quieter in the audience than when Swan Lake is on, you tend to get lycra body suits rather than tutus and the dancing is ASTONISHING. Like ballet-gymnastic-amazingness. And none of the tedious 'folk dancing ballet' sections they tend to chuck into the fairytale ballets.

Anonymous said...

lol as a violin player I find this post so so so fab! I adore it in fact. I studied ballet for years so all I think of when I see it is a. bleeding feet and b. how I've lost my skills oh and c. how much weight I've gained!!!

they are going to the corn exchange, but it doesn't say which one. Will have a look!

Good luck with "lent" ;)

Diane said...

Me and the Dancing QUeen love a bit of the Ballet. Mathew Bournes ballets are the biz, and ANYTHING by the Northern Ballet is cool. Nutcracker is a favorite though. xx

Bubble Fish said...

I've just found your blog for the first time.. I've been to the ballet a couple of times, and the crotchal areas (crotchal - not a word, but should be) are a definite source of amusements.. and I'm definitely with you, handsome princes should not have glitter in their hair and pink capes.. could possibly be a handsome queen, I guess...