Sunday, December 9, 2007

Parking Lot Pas de Deux or Hi, I'm Tracy!

One of my dearest and oldest friends, The Senator, waltzed into my office on 7 December at approximately 3PM and asked me if I wanted to go see the Alabama Ballet’s The Nutcracker in B’ham on Saturday. I vacillated on whether or not to go because of Dad just being out of the hospital and all, but after talking with Mum, decided to go. You see, I wanted so badly to see this version of The Nutcracker because the Alabama Ballet was one of only six companies this year to have the rights to perform Balanchine’s version (choreography and story much more child-friendly than Baryshnikov’s adult verson). Balanchine happens to be my all-time favorite, classic choreographer. He was pretty good at what he did. So good in fact, he was responsible for pairing Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev together in the 60’s, thereby establishing what I believe to be THE quintessential ballet partnership of all time (another favorite partnership of mine, not of Balanchine’s making, was Baryshnikov and Kirkland-if you see the famous early 80’s production of The Nutcracker with those two in it and you will never want to see anyone else in the roles of the Nutcracker and Clara).

It was so nice to be back in a city with noise and traffic and sidewalks! In typical fashion, running late to the opening curtain, we literally had to run around the BJCC to find the correct entrance. Upper Tier, right smack in the middle (my favorite spot), great view! Was thrilled with this particular Heir Drosselmeyer; he was vampire-like with black hair and white skin and flew about the stage like a clock pendulum, black cape flapping like bat wings. The children in the audience were speechless at the sight (it was almost frightening and worked very well for building suspense). Clara was played by an absolute doll of a girl, diminutive and fetching, with beautiful technique (Jacqueline Cannon, who will probably become a principal in the company one day). And the Nutcracker was a fine danseur, but looked like post-surgery, post-eighties Michael Jackson in the face (were those his REAL cheekbones and was that his REAL nose? I tried to not think of this as I watched him dance, but it was his face after all, which was quite hard to avoid looking at).

It was a delightful production, mice and spice and soldiers cavorting about (youngsters and preschoolers who are notoriously unpredictable on stage, but huge crowd pleasers with their accidental stepping on each others’ tails and exaggerated helping-of-each-other-up-when-you-fall sort of behavior). If any of you blog readers have a chance to go see this production, please do. And take your children with you. It is a wonderful ballet to introduce young girls and boys to the dance world with.

A fun and extraordinarily distracting day (especially because I was miss-introduced as Tracy early on, and everyone purposefully continued to call me by that name all day). My thanks to the Senator, his staff and his company’s business trips!

Post Script: Notice the jazz hand of The Senator and the "I'm trying to hold my turnout" look on my face. Parking Lot Security was watching us closely (because we looked like professional dancers?).

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