Sheila from "A Chorus Line"
|Fin d'Arabesque, with Ballerina Rosita Mauri|
Edgar Degas,1877, Oil on canvas, Musée d’Orsay
I try to put my troubles into perspective, keeping each one separated from the others. Divide and conquer, you know? Little by little they can be sorted out, taken and looked at logically, worked on and worked out. Usually.
Every so often, though, Troubles decide to gang up together into a big troublesome wad and hurl themselves into your midst without warning to see what havoc they can create. Splat! It hurts.
And so it has been for the last few weeks. Just when one issue seems to be resolved, another one pops up to take its place. Then another. And another. It’s been a big ole’ game of “Whack a Mole” around here lately.
Yesterday, it all went away for a while. All the problems, all the anxiety, and all the difficulties melted away.
I went to the ballet.
I was tempted not to go. I had planned to accompany my four year old Little Beauty to see the performance, but she contracted a nasty tummy bug that I nicknamed “Ivan the Terrible” and cancelled (wisely) on me. Poor baby.
I was feeling spent myself, tired of the hustle and bustle and back and forth and sickness and logistics and wondering where I would be needed the most. Maybe I would just stay home after all.
But I knew that a dear friend would be acknowledged at the performance, receiving an award for her artistic contributions as costume designer for the last ten years or so at the ballet company. I’ve held many pins for her through the years, and learned so much about the mix of artistry and engineering that goes into building costumes (yes, costumes are ‘built’ not ‘sewn’ as Jude taught me), and with each pin I’ve handed to Jude Bonnot over the years, my estimation for her has grown. I had to be there to see her receive her well-deserved accolade.
Don’t you love it when you make the right choice?
I went to the ballet and had the most wonderful time. The production was amazing, a tribute to the gifted artistic staff from Alexandra Ballet, the gifted dancers (of course), and the scores of volunteers who contribute to the effort.
The MainStage production this year was a repertory show, which is a grouping of small pieces put into a cohesive unit, rather than the usual story ballet (like Cinderella or Swan Lake). Five beautiful pieces of differing style and mood made up this season’s “Gems of the Ballet” and what a shining gem of a production it was!
Here is a photo of the bows taken after the performance of the first piece, Paquita, in which every single dancer wore a custom creation made by Jude Bonnot. This is what's called a "complete build" and you are only seeing a fraction of the scores of costumes made for this one selection.
It was a lengthy show with two intermissions (everyone certainly got their money’s worth for this one!), and as I visited with the company’s Artistic Director during one of them, she was kind enough to invite me over to the cast party following this final performance.
It took a nanosecond to accept the invitation, though I knew I’d be an unplanned guest of the company, and might cause some difficulty to the planners. If it didn’t feel right, I’d just say a quick hello to a few friends and beat a hasty retreat.
Right decision, again. The gracious chair of the planning committee could not have been kinder. She placed me at a table with old and new friends (which, of course, is the perfect combination), arranged for my dinner, and made me feel like a guest of honor. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Karen!
Ballet people know how to throw a party. I've told you that before, but it bears saying again. If you are ever invited to a party connected with the ballet world in any way... go. It's a guaranteed great time.
The idea here is transcendence. The production itself took me out of my reality for two hours, long enough to restore my psyche. The music took my mind to a place of order and beauty. As if time traveling, the stories of the ballets transported me to places of intrigue, charm, lovely gardens, and humorous vignettes. The party afterward was a place in which I could reconnect with old friends and enjoy making new ones.
The afternoon and evening was truly a tonic for my soul.
If you find yourself beset with troubles, I hope you are able to find a recipe that works for you like ballet works for me.We sometimes are not even aware how very badly we need the respite from those troubles. Music, dance, reading, walking...how do you transcend the everyday?
Today, I hope you transcend all your troubles...at least for a while.
This little video snippet is of Alexandra Ballet Company dancer, Makensie Howe, who has accepted a contract to dance professionally next season with Houston Ballet II. It has been an honor to see this lovely young lady grow up, and she will be sorely missed next year. As it is with any great training company, we must become accustomed to saying goodbye, and come to the understanding that our loss is the ballet world's gain. Godspeed to you, Makensie, and come back soon to perform as a guest artist!