Life List: A Night at the Ballet

I've found myself keeping this little list over the last few years, slowly acquiring a catalogue of things I want to do with this life that I've been given to live. Some would call it a 'Bucket List', I guess, but I always thought that name sounded too static - too final and definite. I prefer to simply call it a 'To Do List' because, like my to do list on any given day, I add things to it far more quickly than I ever tick them off.

Some of the things on the list are big things - things I really want to accomplish and achieve; landmarks that most people reach at some point on their journey through life. Others are small, inconsequential things - things that I've stumbled upon and thought, "Y'know, I'd really like to try/witness/experience that at least once in my lifetime." The one and only thing they all have in common, as far as I can see, is that nobody knows about them but me.

Until, that is, I manage to conquer them!

One thing that's been on the list a while now - firmly planted on the 'inconsequential' category - was to spend a night at the ballet... So when my sister dropped me a text the other week offering me a ticket for the Scottish Ballet's performance of The Nutcracker in Aberdeen, I jumped at the opportunity!

My experience at the theatre is pretty limited, restricted mostly to pantomimes, awkward trips with school, one performance of The History Boys (so good!) and a single musical in London's West End. A night at the ballet is like none of these things.

From the perfectly-timed applause on the conductor's first appearance (before I'd ever picked him out of the crowd), to the deadly silence of the audience when all I wanted to do was shout, "It's Jessie J!!" (I can't be the only person who chuckled, right?), it was a little like being a stranger in a foreign land, with a culture all of its own.

Dame Jessie J Mouserink, anyone? Just me then..

What a beautiful, beautiful land it is though.

I must confess that I didn't follow the story in its entirety (Act I, fine; but I didn't understand what was going on for most of Act II. A quick Google afterwards and it all makes perfect sense.), but it didn't matter much. I was so mesmerised by the music - familiar and yet fresh all at once - and the beauty and talent of the dancers that it probably wouldn't have mattered if there was no story at all. Even the set struck me as being very creative and cleverly put together; but it was the gift of the dancers that captivated me most.

How can they spin and spin and spin so many times without just falling down? How do they do that whole standing-on-one-teeny-tiny-toe thing? How can they be so ridiculously skinny and yet so muscular all at once? How can they put so much trust in someone that they can launch themselves across the stage into their arms? How can they express so very much without uttering a single word? How? Just.. how?

Dancing is not my area of expertise... can you tell? But, my word, I'm glad it's theirs!

What an incredible amount of talent and dedication must go into that one performance - worthy of every last perfectly-timed applause and a beautiful way to spend a night.

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  1. When I first went to the ballet it was the thumps as they landed which surprised me having only seen it on the tv I wasnt expecting that! Glad you made it off your list.

    1. The men were quite thumpy, but I found myself straining for the sound of some of the ladies landing and am still waiting to hear them. It shouldn't be possible to be that weightless!

      (Just jealous really.)


  2. Oh I do love HMT! Watching ballet is amazing enough, and then when you think that the whole stage is TILTED...