Thursday, 4 October 2012

Been to the ballet again.

Cycled back with, as usual, my head exploding with observations and questions and frankly trails of wonder.

There follows a selection of these.  As you'll see, there is no way that this lot can be edited into anything resembling a coherent narrative, so I'm just going to leave them roughly as they were...

Dear god.  HOW is it possible that we share the stage with such surefooted, gracile creatures?  I mean, we literally tread the same boards.  We look down on the same people waving their batons at the same orchestra.  We even on occasion share the same composer (tonight was Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake - as of March next year I shall be singing Filipyevna in his Eugene Onegin in the same theatre).  We are all surely doing our best to interpret and communicate the music...  yet, oh yet, we are such worlds apart.

There's all these people knowing to a millimetre where they are in relation to the staging and to each other, and I have been trodden on more times than I care to mention and have had to resort to tripping the tenor over in order to remind him he's meant to be speaking to me.

I wonder if  I could learn to do that with my hands.

Ouch.  I DEFINITELY could not learn to do that with my legs.

Interesting how no-one ever goes up to a dancer at a party and says "Come on then, give us a quick pirouette", whereas we opera singers get asked to "oh go on, just sing something" all the time.  How come it's assumed in all these TV talent (haha) programmes that anyone with a decent voice could be an opera singer, whereas there is pretty much no evidence that anyone has ever said of a bloke with a decent sense of rhythm and who managed not to fall over whilst getting on down at his aunt's wedding, "Oh I bet he could make it as a ballet dancer"?  I am the first to be totally in awe of the physical commitment and hours of practice that the dancers put in.  However we singers are also usually the product of several intensive years of study.  Weird.

Actually I am not totally averse to modern dress on the dancers (this generally means the poor buggers leaping around in not much more than their knickers).  Being visually aware of the demands made on the musculature of the body, especially for the ballerinas, who, hidden by the traditional tutu and tights, can seem to float in a preternatural manner, brings them firstly closer to us humans (yes, the tautness of that muscle betrays how much effort she has to employ in order to hold that leg up there) and then of course takes them immeasurably further away (no, damn it, if I attempted to bring my leg up halfway there it would, with reason, go on strike and probably never work the same again).

Except I rather like tutus.

Even when the blokes are wearing them too.  And both sexes in certain scenes of this production look topless, the men being actually so and the women wearing flesh-coloured tops.  

Interesting how homogenous the dancers look when all dressed the same.  Is this a function of their profession, or of holding themselves in the same positions whilst dressed the same, or what?  Certainly wouldn't apply if you went and mixed in opera singers amongst them :-)  (Certain amount of covert sniggering in the aisles...).

Actually however I like having a decent cleavage! (Oh how un-PC!)

(At half time, squeezing through the throng of sweaty dancers) - oh poor boy, he has goosepimples on his thighs, must be damned chilly, I wouldn't like a costume like tha.... WAIT!!! I am squashed right behind the lead male dancer, him wearing pretty much nothing, and that in tight flesh tones, and I am commiserating with his virtual nakedness?  Do I not realise how over 50% of the population would kill for such a view?...

There are exceptions.  But on the whole, opera singers do not look anything like that in their knickers.

What can I do to better myself in terms of physical awareness on stage?  In terms of graceful moment?  Of surety of aim, of expressiveness of form?

There's always so much to learn.

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