We did it! We finally got to see a ballet! Not just any ballet, but the opening night of the Royal Ballet's production of Sleeping Beauty at the Kennedy Center! It was absolutely wonderful. Alina Cojocaru danced Princess Aurora - simply incredible. Weightless, graceful, supple... Obviously it's The Royal Ballet, so everyone's going to be an incredible dancer. But she was stunning.
It made me remember how exciting it is to see live performances, where there's always a chance that things might go wrong. If you're watching a video, you know that everything is going to work out perfectly, otherwise they wouldn't bother selling a tape of the performance. But last night in the audience, I felt this amazing tension as I watched the ballet unfold - something about the uncertainty, the riskiness of it all. It made those moments when a dancer did something truly amazing feel like a gift to us, the audience. Cojocaru's arabesque balances in the Rose Adagio. Kobborg's (Prince Florimund) quadruple pirouette that ended only because the music was continuing and he had to come out of it in order to stay on beat. The four princes' enormous, lighter-than-air entrechat sixes.
And the music! It's not a score that I'm very familiar with, but much of it was recognizable as trademark Tchaikovsky: big harp arpeggios, cello solos, melodies for birds and other animals. The violin solo accompanying Princess Aurora in Act III was gorgeous. It was as if there were just two things happening in the entire theater - the violinist playing, and Cojocaru dancing.
Enough gushing. A few details from the rest of the evening.
Scott took me out for a lovely dinner beforehand at Legal Sea Foods. We both hesitated a little at the thought of going to a chain restaurant, but it really was a good meal. We highly recommend the Apple and Goat Cheese Salad with Grilled Scallops and a chipotle and orange dressing.
We had a dramatic eleven o'clock ride home. The predicted thunderstorms were just starting up, and there was nearly constant lightning flashing all around us. Thankfully, we got home before the storm arrived. And it was LOUD. Crashing thunder, pounding rain, a doozy. Listening to a storm like that is one of the nicest ways to fall asleep.