I have to admit, when I first returned to ballet, my love was purely on what went on in class.
I had no interest in performing. And while I loved watching ballets, it wasn’t really on my “to do list” a whole lot.
Being talked into doing The Nutcracker a couple of years after my return to class led to me getting bit by the performance bug. Being cast as Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet (the picture is from one of our rehearsals) led to me becoming a huge fan of ballet watching, period.
I have to credit Mr. O, our artistic director, for opening my eyes to what’s out there in the ballet world. Our company has done a variety of ballets since he arrived. And I’ve been thrilled to be part of some of them.
Nutcracker will always have a special place in my heart. It’s a classic, it’s magical. I love to perform in it. Performance week is my favorite week of the year.
But, believe it our not, it’s not my favorite ballet.
Romeo and Juliet is much more of a compelling, emotional ballet. It also has a special place in my heart because my first non-Nutcracker role was Friar Lawrence. And to be quite honest, it’s still probably the biggest role I’ve performed, even though it was a character, non-dancing role.
As a story ballet, it still ranks No. 1 in my book.
Dracula is probably the most intense ballet I’ve ever been in and love it, to. And the Firebird has a bit of a creepy, but fun monsters scene. And Stravinsky gives it an interesting feel with his music.
Although Romeo and Juliet is my No. 1 story ballet, I like the dancing better in Swan Lake. The cygnets, Black Swan CODA, Dying Swan, I don’t know if any other story ballet beats it for dancing intensity. And depending on your seating, the patters on stage will blow you away.
I’ve found that I like varied tastes when it comes to watching ballet. I like the classics. Paquita ranks up there with Romeo and Juliet. But I love contemporary pieces like Dracula and the pieces I saw Dance Theater of Harlem perform a couple of years ago.
And as much as I love the story ballets, my favorite ballets are the ones where dancing takes center stage. My favorite would have to be “Who Cares,” a George Balanchine piece to Gershwin. Pure, fun dancing. And love the “Man I Love” pas de deux.
One of the things I love about it? It’s not all tutus, tiaras and white tights.
It’s real, it’s cool. And I think it’s a piece that appeals to people who might be chased away by the stereotype of what they think ballet is really like.