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So, as I mentioned last week, I went to see the Mariinsky Ballet perform The Firebird and two other pieces. It was breathtaking! I have never seen such a combination of strength, precision, and grace. I could go on and on about the music, the dancing, the costumes.
The costumes! I love that the costumes for The Firebird were so rich and ornate! I feel if an American ballet company performed this ballet they would be tempted to tone the costumes down and simplify them. But these dancers have no fear of being overwhelmed by the costume, they dominate! Bring on the myriad of colors and the sparkle! All of it deeply influenced by Russian tradition. I loved it!
I was also deeply struck by the performance of Les Sylphides. It was so lovely! It doesn’t really have a plot, but you don’t even notice. It’s just so lovely. . .
On another note, do you want to hear about my outfit? Okay! So I wore the dress below, which has become my new favorite party dress.
Except I removed the halter strap and wore a blue, close fitting, oxford underneath. It might sound funny, but I got a lot of complements on it so it must have looked alright. Or it was so strange looking that people thought that it should look okay.
But here is the funny thing. Have you ever seen the inside of the Kennedy Center Opera House? I have and I should have remembered that the walls, and the ceiling, and the floor, are all the exact same color red as that dress. Thank goodness I was wearing the blue shirt underneath otherwise I would have looked like a floating head as I walked around.
Tonight I am going to see The Firebird performed by the Mariinsky Ballet at the Kennedy Center. (Going to see Russians dance ballet is the equivalent of drinking Napoleonic Brandy. I think. I have to admit I’ve never had Napoleonic Brandy, but you get the idea.) I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am! I have wanted to see this ballet since I was ten or eleven, at the time I was reading about Maria Tallchief, the first prima ballerina for the New York City Ballet. She gained her fame by dancing Balachine’s choreography of The Firebird.
The Firebird is a ballet based on a Russian folktale. It tells the story of Prince Ivan, twelve enchanted princesses, a wicked sorcerer and the Firebird, who helps Prince Ivan break the spell. It first premiered in 1910, the music is composed by Igor Stravinsky and the original choreography was by Mikhail Fokine. The immediate success of this ballet led to Stravinsky’s composition of The Rite of Spring and Petrushka (another favorite of mine, it’s so sad!).
So, have I gushed enough? Oh, yes, and they will also be showing Chopiniana (Les Sylphides) and Scheherazade. Two more ballets that I have always wanted to see, but haven’t yet. But The Firebird trumps them in my mind!