Sunday, December 04, 2005

Sharing My Appreciation

It must be getting close to Christmas time once again. My daughter and I just got home from our annual treat: the Fort Wayne Ballet production of "The Nutcracker". As usual, I felt as if a giant wave of beauty, excellence, and joy had washed over me for about an hour and a half.

We were able to get seats for one of the two performances for which the Fort Wayne Philharmonic provided the music (they use recordings for the other performances). The orchestra was as much on its game as the dancers. With a large children's choir on hand to provide the "ahhhh - ahhhh" parts for the Land of Snow scene, all was complete. Once again, I am mildly amazed that Fort Wayne, Indiana -- a decaying rust belt city of about 250,000 -- has so good a ballet, and so good an orchestra.

Of course, I have nearly zero knowledge of dance. But when a woman can start off at the left front of the stage and travel a diagonal line all the way to the right rear -- couldn't have been less than twenty meters -- on alternately the heel and then the toe of a single foot, gracefully, under perfect control, in exact time to the music ... well, even I know I've just seen something very cool. So, my hat's way off to Lucia Rogers, who did this tonight, and will be doing it next weekend, too. I bet her toes hurt.

I'm not at all sure why this performance moves me so, every year. It's not as if I'm knowledgeable about ballet; I'm sure I miss all the finer points and subtleties. I think it's a matter of spending some time in the presence of people who work very hard for, and achieve, excellence: dancers, musicians, and the others who accomplish the production. It's a cheering thought that I'm part of the same species as they.

Life is good.


lemming said...

I read somewhere that professional ballet dancers are only able to wear shoes for one performance - after a few hours, they are so worn down all over that to even put them on would cause even more pain than these experts in "dancing through pain" can take. I more than admire the stamina and patience that goes into this art, even if I don't know a jump from a curtsey.

Cathay said...

I go to the Nutcracker ballet in San Jose, Calif every year. This year it's December 18th and I CAN'T WAIT!!!