Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ballet and the Family of Anatidae

"The Nutcracker" was the first ever ballet that I saw. I remember being seven, and I hink I saw the production that was done at SUNY Purchase. It was very, very good. I was totally enthralled by the movement, the costumes, and how much was going on. It actually inspired me to get into dance myself. I took ballet class from when I was eight through when I was twelve, before moving onto sports and learning modern/jazz/hip-hop when in my h.s. theatre program, and then dancing in college.

Speaking of Tchaikovsky and his great works, I saw "Black Swan" earlier this week-hence the above screencap.

The characters in the film are putting on a production of his classic "Swan Lake," although with more of an "edge" than the ballet has usually. I am still recovering from having seen it. I mean that in a good way. It was beautiful, yet very dark and disturbing. Without giving anything away, along with the extremely intense visuals, a lot is done with sound in that movie.

Consequently, the first couple of days after I saw it, the littlest noises I heard when walking places made me do a double take. I think I want to see it again, because it was so well done and it was a spectacle to behold. It was also inspirational, image-wise, for drawing ideas.

I miss doing more contemporary styles of dance and I keep meaning to get back into it. And, I still love ballet. It's a physically incredible dance form, so it's amazing to watch the dancers. That ballets themselves tell elaborate stories is pretty great.

I love the costumes, and many of my cards (as well as sketchbook doodles) end up featuring characters, either fairy or human, who are dancing or in dance costumes-above is a screencap of Natalie Portman's character in costume, and one of my favorite shots in the movie.

All that being said about ballet... the recitals, costumes, and final recital at the end of the year were always fun. Yet, in practice, I found I liked other types of dance better (in no small part because of being young and impatient, and being antsy that so much of the practice was at the barre or floor exercises, very repetitious, with the practice of actual dance choreography jammed into the end of class), and after seeing "Black Swan," I think mayhaps not being a ballerina was a good choice. I am awed at those who can handle it, but I do not think I'd have been among them.

I also think modern dance and movement companies are able to do tremendous, exciting things because those kinds of kinesthetics lend themselves to being more open than a more rigid dance form like ballet does. I am lucky enough to know talented dancer/choreographers in these realms.

One such creator is Cristina Jasen, pictured above.

Cristina is a close friend of mine from college, and has been dancing and choreographing nonstop since graduation with her company, "SAWTOOTH dancers." Videos, photographs, and overall media about the great work she's doing in NYC are at her website, here:

And with those musings, I am off. I will say that I regret that I chose to not go the toe-shoe track, as my apartment flooded earlier this evening, and it would have been amusing/interesting to toeshoe around so as not to step on the water before it was wet-vacced away.

Oh well. I suppose that's what rain boots are for :-) With daises on them.

No comments: