Confession: I snap photos during curtain calls. __________ As someone who was raised by two theatre majors and did community and school...

Swan Lake of Tears

Friday, October 07, 2016 , , ,

Confession: I snap photos during curtain calls.
As someone who was raised by two theatre majors and did community and school theatre throughout my school years, I really do not get to go to the theatre enough. Poor me.

But this past week I got to go twice in the span of about 24 hours.

First, Justin and I went to Cabaret with our friend Michael from high school, at the Buell at the Denver Center for Performing arts {America's largest performing arts complex under one roof #hometownbrag}. We saw Cabaret for the first time in high school. With Mike. So fancy that. Cabaret is a sobering show. It stars off all tomfoolery and ends with a gasp.

Then, the next morning the girls and I had tickets to see Swan Lake performed by the Colorado Ballet at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, which literally shares a wall with the Buell Auditorium.

Credit: Artists of Colorado Ballet

This is one of the huge benefits of our "homeschool school," Options, through Aurora Public Schools. Options scored a section for the Colorado Ballet's final dress rehearsal, when the CO Ballet invites school groups to come watch for $10/ticket {typical prices are $50-$150} and they live stream their performance to children's hospitals and charities.

This is how we got to see the Alice in Wonderland ballet last spring too. I applaud the Colorado Ballet for hosting this arts event for the children. More of this!!

So Sander dropped us off and we found our seats, in the nosebleeds, but we still had a good view. Ellie Caulkins Opera House seats 2,200 people--most of whom that day were children, but you wouldn't know it. The kids, I tell you. They were on the edges of their seats for most of it. They clapped loudly when Odette delivered her 33 fouettes or the Prince jumped especially high. They love it. Two thousand kids sat nicely for a ballet performance.

Anyway, I hadn't seen Swan Lake yet but I know and love the music. Tchaikovsky is my absolute favorite composer ever. EVER. So romantic, so impassioned!

I adore Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. The Pas de Deux is the most heartbreaking romantic piece of music ever written by someone other than God himself. Uh. In my opinion. Tchaikovsky has this way of making me feel ALL THE EMOTIONS.

But back to Swan Lake.

This ballet isn't messing around. And Colorado Ballet may not be as famous as the fancy academy in New York, but I've watched the Russian Ballet's Nutcracker, Sweden's Royal Ballet Nutcracker, and the San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker all on YouTube...and their set and costumes can't hold a candle to the Colorado Ballet's Nutcracker {which I've seen four times in person}. We have the best Mother Ginger, friends, by far.

But back to Swan Lake. Again.

Swan Lake is a ballet featuring four acts and two intermissions. It ran from 10:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. and it was just perfection.

The very last scene is, I've decided, my favorite part. No.29, the finale scene. The entire ballet is wrapped up in this piece. Despite being starving and sitting watching ballet for three hours, my girls were on the edge of their seats when No.29 panned out.

In the final scene, Odette {the Swan Queen, human by night, swan by day thanks to evil sorcerer Von Rothbart} throws herself off a cliff {in this version} in a fit of romantic, tragic, beautiful rage. By doing so she saves all the other swans from his spell. The Prince follows her to death all Romeo-style, and together they enjoy an apotheosis.

Now, that's too much for a kid to understand right? A five-year-old watching Swan Lake wouldn't really put all that together by interpreting dance and all.

Which is why it shocked me to look over at the most beautiful part of No.29 and see Violet had legit tears brimming up in her eyes, threatening to spill over.

I recovered from my shock, teared up myself--like a well--because my heart and ALL THE EMOTIONS, and leaned over and asked, "Are you crying?"

"No!" she said, looking slightly embarrassed. "My eyes are just tinkling!"

I've listened to No.29 several times over tonight and it gives me chills every time, so much so that I'm beginning to feel ill from all the chills.

I was telling my mom about Violet's ballet tears and she referenced the quote, "Music bypasses the intellect and speaks straight to the soul." Or something along those lines. So true, and I think I witnessed that with Violet at Swan Lake.

If you please, open this YouTube of No.29...

Skip ahead to 3:00 if you want the gist of the Swan Lake sound and feel. Starting at 1:25 is even better. Tell you recognize Swan Lake? Even if you don't think you'd know it, I bet you will recognize it. I can't listen to this music without making expressions on my face.

But wait around and keep listening until the last part, at 5:45, the very last minute of this 3 hour ballet, when the music changes delightfully to something less tragic and more hopeful, is around when I tore my eyes from the passionate scene I'd just witnessed and glanced at Violet, her eyes full to the brim with tears, staring at those dancers, entranced. It had gone to her soul, bypassing that intellect. Listen to this and imagine seeing that happen to your five year old... Tchaikovsky!
You flipping genius, you.

And between the music and the sight of my too-young-to-get-it daughter being moved, well, I became total milktoast and started mopping up my tears with my sleeve before the other parents noticed me. Violet and I, we were feeling ALL THE EMOTIONS. {Thanks, Tchaikovsky.}

Violet, by the way, is in her second semester of pre-ballet at the Colorado Ballet Academy. We're very proud of our tiny dancer, and while I've started to think she really could do well as a ballerina--as a hobby or whatever--this experience showed me she has the emotional of "what it takes" to feel the music and respond....with....ALL THE EMOTIONS! required for a dancer to understand in order to emote through her dancing.

Props to the Colorado Ballet for doing shows for school children. Props to the live orchestra that moved us to tears. And props to Mr. T for writing raw emotion in the forms of musical notes.

Heather {aka Emotionally Fragile Dance Mom}

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