Count the headlights on the highway

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

If there were two words that could capture the exact opposite of my outward-most being, they would be "tiny dancer."

That doesn't damper my love for the Elton John number, though. Does that song make anyone else want to quit their day jobs and be a seamstress for a band?

In the spirit of appreciating dancers who are half my size, I attended the New York City Ballet last night - and loved it.

The past three years I've been to The Nutcracker around the holidays, but that's been my only recent exposure to ballet. Don't get me wrong. I was a successful ballerina in my youth. OBVIOUSLY.

I conquered ballet, tap, and jazz (all before kindergarten!) and distinctly remember actually colliding with twin sister whilst attempting a ballerina's leap at age 6.

Who knew ballet could be a contact sport?

Of course, when kindergarten came I was forced to retire. It was hard hanging up my Minnie Mouse costume (equipped with endlessly entertaining 4-finger gloves) for life, but I knew I had to move onto better things. Particularly, better things that required less balance and overall coordination. Like math.

Last night, I got to witness those who never did move on from good old ballet. And it was beyond impressive.

While watching, I kept thinking about the time I did Yoga Barre and the evil instructor made me hold onto the barre, stand on one foot, and hold my back leg out for like, five straight minutes. Violent shaking ensued. (More yoga thoughts in this post). And all the ballerinas were holding their knees next to their ears like it was totes NBD. Oh, you want me to twirl around 12 times in a row? Another day, another dollar, yo.

The nice part about the ballet we saw was it had four distinct parts. Since  it was a compilation of different pieces, there was a wide variety of music and dancing. My favorite part? A section called The Steadfast Toy Soldier that was awesome.

SPOILER ALERT: IF YOU WOULD RATHER EXPERIENCE THIS FIRST HAND (by reading the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale or seeing the ballet personally) PLEASE STOP READING. I'LL RUIN IT FOR YOU. AND I HATE SPOILERS.

I am still holding a grudge against the ruthless person who told me the key character that dies in the fifth Harry Potter book before I could get to that chapter. I'll never forget the moment. I was on the band bus. And I was livid. I'm willing to take that one to my grave.

Anyway, I hope we lost all the adamant fairy tale readers/ballet goers by now. I'm guessing I probably lost just about everyone with that last little blurb but I wanted to do that just to be sure. I'd rather have no readers than have readers who hold grudges against me, you know what I mean? Me neither.

So The Steadfast Toy Soldier starts with a person marching/jumping around dressed as a toy soldier (shocker!) and a doll standing still (that's actually a person dressed as a doll). The plot then progresses as follows:

The soldier dances.

The doll dances.

The soldier dances.

The doll dances.

The soldier and the doll dance together.

The soldier and the doll dance together some more.

The soldier gives the doll a little red heart which she slips in her leotard. (Not as scandalous as it sounds).

The soldier and the doll dance.

The doll gets hot so she opens the window.

Wind blows into the room.

The soldier and the doll continue to dance.

The doll gets blown into the fire place and is burned alive.

The soldier picks up all that remains of the doll (the little red heart).


It totally took an unexpected turn for the worst, right?! Who knew Hans Christian Anderson could pull a George R.R. Martin like that? I actually found it very hard not to spontaneously burst out laughing throughout the rest of the show because I kept wondering if any of the other ballerinas in any of the other dances were, you know, going to die. But nope - only the doll! I'm happy to report no one else was murdered or injured during the rest of the performance, and I highly recommend seeing it if you find yourself in the Big Apple!

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