Image by Duncan Kidd

ABOUT ME: MY INTERESTS IN BALLETS

There is no doubt that I love history. Family and friends will tell you that it is more an obsession than a passion. Mainly because they have heard many lectures on politics, great leaders, cultures, social classes, and gender roles. But they will also tell you that I love life, the ups and downs, the wonderful adventures (large or small), and the exciting feeling of accomplishing my goals. To cope with life's many stresses and failures, I venture out and take comfort in nature (bonfires, camping, and watching football games in stadiums), the Arts (ballets, visiting Art museums, and seeing broadways, and plays), and just the simple act of hanging out with my friends at a Bible study, church, or a dinner party will lift my spirits. To cover all my interests, this blog will spread out into several different ones. These series will be called “About Me: My Interests in X”

My favorite ballets are "Swan Lake" and "The Nutcracker." I would love to see either one performed by the Russian Ballet (a lot of history behind the Russian Battle, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and the Romanovs). "Swan Lake," especially, is a moving piece. The colors and music grip me and take me to another place and time, sweeping me up into the days where castles towered over Europe, Lords held lands, knights clashed, and kings and queens ruled with murderous gleams. “Swan Lake” is about a young man who is gifted a bow. He goes to Swan Lake and is mesmerized by the swans. Right when he lifts his bow and takes aim, a swam transforms into a human girl 1.

As he gets to know her, dawn transforms her back to a swan. He then tries to break the spell because he wants to marry her. My favorite scene is from act I, scene IIII because of the music, costumes, and dance. Whereas "Swan Lake" transports me to the Medieval period, "The Nutcracker" takes me to the Colonial days where men wore metal-buckle shoes, women carried folded hand-held fans, and the name revolution became a battle cry 2.

The Nutcracker is highly enchanting and should have been a Disney movie long before now. It is a about a young girl who is adored by her godfather, a toy maker. He gifts her with a life-size Nutcracker soldier. Her jealous brother breaks the toy, but her godfather quickly repairs it. Once the Christmas party is over, she goes to bed. But awakens and sneaks downstairs and curls up next to her toy, where she begins to dream. It is through this dream that the story is told of the brave Nutcracker defeating the Mouse King. My favorite scene in this play is Act II, scene IV. Again, it is about the music, costumes, and dance. It snares my senses, and I am taken straight to the stage experiencing the dance myself (no I do not dance. I never learned) 3.

If you never been to a ballet, I encourage you to check out your local Arts theaters in your area. There is nothing like watching "The Nutcracker" or "Swan Lake" live. But there are so many others like "The Christmas Carol," "Alice and the Wonderland," and "Giselle." If you cannot find these at your local theaters, try to find them on YouTube. Many ballet companies have their shows on there. But seeing a live performance with an audience is beautifully transforming.

Research. Learn. Discover,

-Jeni

1. Erik Tomasson, “The Story of Swan Lake,” San Francisco Ballet, accessed November 23, 2020, https://www.sfballet.org/the-story-of-swan-lake/.

2. Ibid.

3. “The Nutcracker Ballet Story: The Most Common of Many Variations,” Nutcracker Ballet, accessed November 23, 2020, https://www.nutcrackerballet.net/html/nutcracker_story.html.

Bibliography

Nutcracker Ballet: “The Nutcracker Ballet Story: The Most Common of Many Variations.” Accessed November 23, 2020.

Tomasson, Erik. “The Story of Swan Lake.” San Francisco Ballet. Accessed November 23, 2020.