I have loved ballet since I was three years old and, I was dragged along to my older sisters ballet school. Because I was too young to participate in the classes1, my Mom would take me to the bakery next door and let me eat as many madeleines as I wanted. I never really paid attention to what my sisters were doing or what the tiny instructors with hair scrapped back into buns were talking about. All I knew is that ballet signified some quality Mom time and madeleines.
So when I tell you that I am writing about a recent performance of the American Ballet Theatre’s Don Quixote, I am telling you that to say I know almost nothing about ballet. In fact, I would suggest that I can speak only a little more eloquently than a three year old about ballet. I excel slightly more than the three year old because I happen to have more words at my disposal to discuss how much I like the sparkly tutus. Thus, I will keep this short.
My first thought when the curtain opened and the character Kitri ran onto the stage was ‘this is fun’. I feel a slight pang when I admit that because it sounds cheap. But, I can’t think of any better way to describe the ballet. It was fun, at times even silly, and the dancing was light-hearted and exceptional. The story really has nothing to do with Don Quixote, who is on stage pantomiming fatigue and delusion. Our attention is directed on the character of Kitri and her love, Basilio, who, of course is poor but oh so dreamy. I am not sure the story really matters. Because it is in Spain, there are Gypsies and tambourines and peasants and matadors!
Though the run of the show is now over, the season for the American Ballet Theatre is just beginning. I suggest if you have never been to see a ballet that you take yourself to one. And then grab a madeleine afterwards.
1.These classes were run by former dancers from the Kirov Ballet. They didn’t mess around. There was no ‘free dance’ time where all the children could just run around and act like a Bacchic horde set loose. Oh no.