First let’s talk Swan Lake and then I’ll gush about ballet as a whole!!
For my birthday, my mother got us tickets to The Washington Ballet’s performance of Swan Lake to see Misty Copeland. I think she is so incredible and I love ballet (more on that later) so this was the perfect gift for me!! The Kennedy Center is a place with many fond memories from growing up in DC. It was a place we frequented regular for ballets, plays, performances, rehearsals and more. I have not been in a while prior to this visit so I was excited. When the music started playing and the curtain opened exposing the beautiful set, I was transported to a far away kingdom.
Swan Lake is a classic, and favorite of many, myself included. It was the perfect show for me to return to see at the Kennedy Center.
The Washington Ballet has some wonderful and talented dancers and I was happy to see some variety among the dancers.
Brooklyn Mack was an excellent choice for the male lead. But let me be honest, I came to see her. I came to watch Misty Copeland dance. To lean forward in my seat and drink in her every move and I was not alone. People clapped when she appeared, when she danced, when she stopped dancing, when she left and repeated it all again on her return. It was magical but it also made me feel for the stage full of talented people that were chilly in her shadow. There were mixed reviews post show but I disagree with many. Was it perfection?? No but what in life is? Was it magically, memorable and something I will always remember and cherish? ABSOLUTELY!!! Misty stole my heart & Brooklyn has the key. My only critique is that they dance like close friends instead of people in love but they still told the story!! It was Swan Lake done right.
This trip also made me realize, I NEED MORE ART. I miss going to the ballet, and plays and performances. I go sometimes but I could go everyday and still want more, so more I shall have as should you!! So go, see The Washington Ballet current show, Alice in Wonderland and get lost in the magically tale. (Final shows are May 16th & 17th). I’ll be there Sunday!!
So on a more personal note: I LOVE ballet. Like with every fiber, atom, cell of my being. It is a part of me and I miss it everyday like an addict suffering withdrawal. When I see it, even for the briefest second, I feel my body straining to move. I dance around my apartment in my underwear and craft ballets in my head when I dream. I still know the steps to Dance of the Little Swan and was doing it in my chair during the performance (until my mother nudged me out of dream land). I started dancing when I was very young and danced classical ballet for over a decade. I loved it but I didn’t have the body for it. I was too tall, too flat footed, and as I grew older too curvy and let’s just call a spade a spade, too black, to be taken seriously as a dancer. I started at the Jones Haywood Dance School that still marches on after Ms. Haywood’s passing years ago. What I remember most about her was that cane prodding my feet to point harder, legs to stretch straighter, head to be held taller just to name a few of my many flaws. I had flat feet which rolled in and locked my knees and hips which was a wall I’m just starting to conquer with yoga. I moved to the Washington Ballet for a few years but I never felt quite right there. In education, I rarely felt separate or even different intelligence wise to my classmates. Don’t get me wrong, talking Huck Finn was awkward but in terms of doing the work I have WELL educated parents. Even with ADHD, I knew I would go to college. It was never a question of if but where I was going. But I digress. In ballet, the differences between me and my fellow fairer dancers were much starker in a leotard. The nude material were never my nude so they never quite looked right. In the mirror walled room there was nowhere to hid. So my mother took my to the New School of Dance founded by Lynn Welters, formerly of Duke Ellington School. There I danced my little heart out, taught the junior dancers on weekends and earned a spot a junior company member. I loved dance and how it make me feel is hard to put into words. The day I stopped dancing, I think a little piece of me died. Don’t get me wrong, I could never fully stop, in fact just today I got caught
again dancing in my car at a red light, it’s in my blood. I say all that to say I wish that I had the courage and heart that Misty Copeland has to push through it all, the doubt, the critiques, & the haters. She is not a perfect dancer but what makes her so incredible is her heart. She dances with such presence and joy that you want more and to see her come back and do it again. It was truly an honor to watch her, Brooklyn and all of Washington Ballet share their passion with us. How incredible it must be to dance for a living! Thank you so much for sharing your art and heart with us all!!