Ballet, like opera, is one of those performance art forms I've been meaning to take a peak at for many years but never quite got around to. So when the wonderful Susan offered me a couple of tickets to see the Royal Ballet at the O2 last weekend that she couldn't use, the lure of watching fit men jumping around in tights was too much to refuse.
One of my fears is not having a clue what is going on but this was Romeo and Juliet so all I had to do was work out which character was which and then I was fine.
With nothing to compare it with and absolutely no knowledge of dance I can't say whether it was a good ballet or not but I can say that I enjoyed it very much.
First of all there was far more acting from the dancers than I expected. The music is, of course beautiful, as are the costumes. There is something particularly winsome about the male dancers who have the most lavish 16th-century, Venetian-style costumes which all come to a halt just north of their codpieces, or dance belts* as they are technically called, and spray on tights. It's jolly nice to see something in which the men are less covered up than the women for once.
Kate, my companion for the afternoon, and I are both convinced that Romeo's codpiece was bigger in the second half.
The disadvantage of the 'stalls' seats at the O2 is that, despite being only a few rows from the front and having an otherwise great view, you can't actually see the dancers feet but it was easy enough to follow on the screens above.
I don't think the O2 particularly lends itself to this sort of production being such a large venue with all the stalls seating on the flat. It also took an awfully long time for everyong to file out to the loos during the interval and then file back in again.
I'd definitely like to see a ballet in a more conventional theatre but before you think I'm going to turn into a ballet fan, I'm not. It was beautiful and enjoyable to watch but *whispers* I missed the words. And, besides, there aren't enough evenings in the week and pennies in the piggy bank to be able to support a ballet habit on top of the theatre.
There is a fab gallery of pics on this website.
* This from Wiki:
Dance belts were developed and considered desirable for male dancers and others to wear because (1) various choreographic moves can otherwise result in pain or possibly even injury to the male genitalia which are not supported and held snugly in place against the lower abdominal area, and (2) skin-tight, body-hugging ballet tights would otherwise reveal the contours of the male dancer's anatomy to a degree of detail that could be considered distracting to the audience.
The bit about the contours of the male dancers anatomy being distracting actually made me chuckle