Thursday, June 2, 2011

"Everything was beautiful at the ballet..."

"Moon Light Purple" by BalletArt

One of the perks of Jon's job is that we get a chance to do, eat, and see things that we would otherwise never be able to afford.  It's made the stress of his job somewhat more bearable, and it's made Seattle a whole lot more fun.

Tonight, as a member of the Concierge Guild of Seattle, Jon got two tickets to see Pacific Northwest Ballet's production of Giselle in its last night of dress rehearsal.  It would have been perfect except I was having a What does one wear to the ballet?! crisis, and with the added difficulty of parking, we were 20 minutes late.  Whoops!

Turns out, not a big deal!  Know why?  Because if you know the synopsis of the show, there is pretty much nothing you can miss in a ballet performance.  Its very root is based in tradition and precedence, which means that virtually every professional performance of the show prior has been exactly the same, give or take a few mavericks.

"The Ballerina" by BalletArt
The story of Giselle is, I guess, a love story.  Personally, I think it's a pretty depressing look at a girl who has really bad judgement.  The synopsis reads romantic, but in reality, this is what I got from it:

Giselle is a poor farm girl who meets a poor farm boy she thinks is named Loys, but is really a duke named Albrecht.  Albrecht has escaped to the forest, basically to get some cute-dancing-farm-girl action before his big ol' royal wedding to some chick-princess named Bathilde.  Meanwhile, Giselle's previous suitor and real farm boy, Hilarion, is all kinds of jealous.  Poor Hilarion, in an attempt to save Giselle from heartbreak and win back her love, reveals the truth only to have her drop dead (after lots of dancing) from a broken (and apparently weak) heart.

Later, Giselle is a ghost floating around with a gang of bitter ghost-brides, called the Wilis.  They lurk in the forest at night, seek out unfortunate men, and make them dance until they die.  (Of course, it's ballet, so there isn't really anything sinister about it.)  Enter Hilarion, who very quickly gets entangled in their pirouetting web and dies a very anti-climactic, off-stage death.  Meanwhile, Albrecht is in the forest bemoaning his lost mistress when the Wilis find him too. Luckily, Giselle's ghost saves him an awful fate... 'cause, you know... she loves him.  Even though he's a liar.

But it was a good show, really!  The sheer skill involved is astonishing; their feet move soooo fast, and I would literally have to start breaking things in order to be as flexible as the dudes in this show.  And what's not to like about flow-y dresses?  And big dance-miming arm movements?  And men in tights??  OK, in all seriousness though, watching great dancers always makes me think about whether I could have ever been a dancer too.  Maybe not for ballet, but some kind of dance—contemporary, maybe, or jazz.  I certainly missed my window there, but it's nice to imagine exuding a feminine poise that is both strong and delicate.

But I like french fries and cocktails and chocolate too much to ever hope for a future of waif-like proportions.  Ah well, c'est la vie.

I suppose that dance has been on my mind a lot lately, thanks in no small part to a certain impressive animation.  Maybe also 'cause "So You Think You Can Dance" just premiered again, which means it must be summer! Oh wait...

Also, these paintings:

 all three tutu paintings by Laurence Amélie

A few weeks ago, Rachel Ashwell of Shabby Chic brilliance dedicated a post to her friend and painter, Laurence Amélie, and I still cannot get enough.  I keep trying to placate myself by thinking They can't be that expensive, right?? which just makes me wish for an original of hers even harder.  Apparently there was a showcase of her work last month down in Santa Monica, at Rachel's flagship store.  I seriously considered for a split second that it was definitely necessarily for me to spend my birthday down in LA with my sister... with a quick trip to look at some stunning art work, of course.

Photo credit: Rachel Ashwell, paintings also by Laurence Amélie

Such simple subject matter, but with such stunning depth!  The pastels, the natural colors, the haphazard girlishness!  It makes me wish that professional ballet could adopt some of this spontaneity and vibrancy, which might make for some really engaging and startling visual spectacles.  But I guess that goes against the whole point of it, amiright??

::sigh:: See, here I go again, you guys, starting off a post about one thing and ending on something completely different.  My blog posts have turned into Simpsons episodes!  But really, this post was simply an excuse to talk about these paintings, and Lord knows I can't just post pictures—I have to write stuff.  It's a sickness.

1 comment:

  1. dear Stacy

    I am laurence amelie , if you want to reach me you can send me an email to

    thank you for all the nieces comments you've made about my work

    best regards

    laurence amelie Schneider