We just finished watching San Francisco Ballet’s The Nutcracker and now I wish I hadn’t given up ballet as a “plump”, balance-challenged 10-year-old.
As a disclaimer, I have to say that I’ve only ever seen one ballet before. That was Les Miserables at the Sydney Opera House. Except I’d woken up at 3AM that day to fit in a long run before work so by the time we sat down at the Opera House I could hardly keep my eyes open.
I’m calling this my first proper trip to the ballet then. If you’re up for the experience I’d definitely recommend going at Christmas time and seeing The Nutcracker. I’m not going to lie, apart from the traffic getting to the theatre, it all felt a little Victorian England to me.
Getting dressed up (for once), snapping my eye shadow brush mid-application so I ended up looking like I’d gifted myself a black eye, strolling through the freezing city streets, gazing at Christmas trees, mistaking protesters outside City Hall for carolers.
That’s all normal Victorian England Christmas stuff, right?
Anyway, San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House is no Sydney Opera House but it’s none too shabby either. It first opened to the public in October of 1932 and it hosted the American premiere of The Nutcracker just two years later.
I’m showing my age a little here, but I adored all the little kids their with parents and grandparents, dressed in tutus, sequinned dresses and shoes, bow ties and suspenders. Even if one decided the right time to impersonate a mosquito was in the middle of the second act.
We sat next to a couple who were dressed to the nines. I’m talking full ball gown and suit. More power to them – if you’re going to do it you might as well go all out right?
As for the actual ballet, I wish I could be as eloquent with my words as they are with their feet, sets and music. The costumes floated and spun along with their dancers, and with every leap or pirouette, I felt sorry for the poor feet taking the hit.
When it started snowing so hard you could only see the stage where the dancers’ feet had cleared it, it was beautiful. There’s never a shortage of something to grab your attention – the set designers made sure of that.