Last week, I had the incredible pleasure of attending opening night of The Washington Ballet’s production of Swan Lake. This was a special night for two reasons: I was going to the ballet for the first time, and I was going to witness history being made.
I’ve always liked ballet, but in a very limited capacity. I can watch Center Stage over and over again, spend my lunch hour viewing YouTube videos, and even read a few romance novels that take place in the world of ballet. I first fell in love with Misty Copeland when she spent some time last summer acting as a guest judge on So You Think You Can Dance. Her smile, grace, and lovely personality lit up my tv screen every Tuesday and Wednesday evening. In November, when they announced she would be dancing the lead in The Washington Ballet’s production of Swan Lake, my fingers could not type in my credit card number fast enough to purchase tickets. In January, when I was laid up from ankle surgery, I read Copeland’s autobiography, and somehow finished it liking her more than I already did. 3 months seemed like such a long time to wait!
Last Thursday, it was finally time for me to see Misty! I got dressed to the nines (well, my version of the nines anyway) and took a hellaciously long bus ride from my apartment in Northwest to the Kennedy Center. It was cold and rainy, but nothing could dampen my excitement. I met up with three of my friends for a pre-show drink, but before we knew it, it was time to take our seats. Because tickets went on sale prior to the announcement that Copeland would be dancing, and it took my friends and I more than 4 seconds to sort our plans out, the only 4 seats available together by the time we purchased were box seats. Box seats are the place to be! You have your own individual seat (two armrests for the win!), and the seats in the back row of the box are significantly higher, with footrests, so you can see over the heads of those sitting in front of you. Unfortunately, as a baller on a budget, I won’t be sitting in the box seats again for a while.
I was concerned whether I would enjoy three straight hours of ballet, but I shouldn’t have been. From the moment the orchestra started warming up, and the lights dimmed, I was on the edge of my seat. I know almost negative nothing about ballet, so I couldn’t provide a knowledgable critique of the show even if I wanted to. But as an audience member who wants to see insanely talented athletes twirl around stage, Swan Lake more than succeeded in that respect. Misty was beautiful and commanded the audience’s attention as Odette/Odile. The applause was thunderous as she leapt on stage at the beginning of the second act. And when she was on stage, you couldn’t take your eyes off of her.
But she was not on stage for the entire show, but that never led to a lack of interest. Brooklyn Mack was a revelation and I may or may not have just spent the last hour trying to look up his performance schedule for future productions. His leaps, turns, bounds, and jumps looked effortless and the ladies of in my group were fanning themselves in admiration throughout. My favorite part of the show, however, were the pas de trois with Jonathan Jordan, as Benno, Maki Onuki, and Tamako Miyazaki. If I could only use one word to describe it, that word would be sassy.
I had such a great time attending my first ballet performance, and cannot wait to go again! I would be lying if I said I haven’t put performance dates for shows through Summer 2016 into my calendar, along with on sale dates. I’ve even looked up ballet performances in NYC since it’s easy, and fairly cheap, to get up there. But I am lucky to have the Kennedy Center and The Washington Ballet in my backyard. Now, if KenCen would just give out show specific Playbill programs…