That’s right, I’ve been back at my favourite theatre again! After watching a play and a musical in the best seats in town, I decided to return to the acclaimed theatre and watch ballet for the first time.
The Royal Opera House in London has been adding recordings of some of their opera and ballet productions to YouTube over the past few weeks as part of their #ourhousetoyourhouse series. I’ve been tempted by the opera (something I’ve been fortunate enough to see live before), but I was really intrigued by the ballet. I’ve never seen a dance performance of any kind before, and ballet always looks so elegant: I was curious to see whether I’d be able to follow it and stay interested.
I chose to watch their The Winter’s Tale performance, a retelling of a William Shakespeare play.
I wasn’t familiar with the story before I sat down to watch the ballet (no cocktail or ice cream this time, I was in my classy pyjamas with a glass of water instead), I wanted to see if I could work out what was happening myself. For the most part, I managed to follow the plot, but there were a few moments where I said “wait, what?” and got a bit confused. As soon as I let go and followed the dancing, I was captivated. The way the dancers could move their bodies was so beautiful and elegant, no movement was wasted.
It reminded me of the physical storytelling required in silent films – somebody like Buster Keaton could show his emotions so easily through the tilt of his head, or a forlorn look – the dancers showed romance, violence, and anger all through their subtle movements. It was mesmerising. As a dance beginner, I feel a bit naive for not realising it would be so expressive, but I really felt the emotions in the performance.
I enjoyed it so much, that I will definitely watch one of the other productions on YouTube, and would eventually like to see a live performance if I could. The dancers were so talented, I can only imagine what it would be like to see them up close. Another surprising success of a new thing for me, something I’m very happy about!