Friday, October 11, 2013

We went the the ballet - and I liked it!

I'm not sure which is less likely - that I instigated attendance at a ballet performance or that I enjoyed it! Margot was certainly surprised by my suggestion.

A Chinese colleague had mentioned to me that a Russian ballet was coming to Tianjin over the National Day holiday. Margot and I have not had much luck attending cultural events in Beijing so when he said he and his wife were attending I said why not.
Tianjin grand Theater

Before we go too far let me apologize for the picture quality. These were taken on my cell phone.

This is the new theater in Tianjin. It is very nice.

Our seats were in the first of three balconies. Pretty good actually.

When we first learned that it was the Mariinsky Ballet Company and not the Bolshoi were a little disappointed. Turns out that Mariinsky was established in 1740 and was originally the Imperial Russian Ballet. After the revolution it was known as the Soviet Ballet and later the Kirov Ballet. The fact that I was unfamiliar with the company seems to say more about my cultural sophistication than it does about the company.
Final curtain call at Swan Lake by Mariinsky Ballet

Pictures are not allowed during the performance but I did take a few at the end of each act. (As did everyone else.) This is during the curtain calls after the performance.

I have to say it was a stunningly beautiful performance. Near the beginning of the second act in particular- all 24 of the white swans transform into dancers and process onto the stage in single file looping back and forth in perfect unison. The visual of all 24 later standing perfectly still in the pose you see here while others perform is really stunning. Skip to about 34:30 in this YouTube clip. Swan Lake

This is at the end of the 3rd act.

I should mention that the music was beautiful, also. They, of course, travel with their own orchestra of about 20 or so.
Ulyana Lopatkina

I pilfered this picture from the internet.

This is Ulyana Lopatkina. She was the Principal Ballerina at the performance we attended. The gracefulness of her motions is impressive. It is one thing to strike a graceful pose but to do it continuously in a fluid motion in a dance is another.

By the way, the woman is 39 years old.

Here is another internet picture.

Its a big production. There must be about 40 or 45 dancers. I think they travel with 2 companies and alternate performances.

This link will tell you all about Swan Lake.

Swan Lake

Click here to learn more about Mariinsky.

All these women seem to have unusually long arms. Maybe it is the costumes. Or maybe that is a requirement to be a dancer in a world class ballet company. Or maybe it is my imagination.

Here we are on the plaza outside the theater after the performance.

It was a very enjoyable evening.

By the way, I got smart and ordered train tickets the day before so we had nice comfortable seats on the way back to Beijing.

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