Well, so the ballet was a success yesterday, aside from having to lean, duck and at times sit on my coat to see around and between the heads of two of the tallest men in the audience in my direct line of sight depending on how they slouched, and even though the graceful arm-waving of "Les Sylphides" set to half a dozen Chopin tunes grew dull very quickly, and despite the fact that the piece with David Hallberg ("Afternoon of a Faun") only lasted about five minutes, and even though I noticed in the program that there had been a performance the night before called "The Green Table" which featured DH as Death.... Oh, did those last two smart. After his stint as the sorcerer in "Swan Lake" in July (I will never see a better production), I was really looking foward to seeing DH onstage again, and chose to go yesterday afternoon so we could see him in the two-person piece rather than in a cowboy outfit or the ensemble. (Each performance in the company's three-week season features three or four short pieces with a rotating cast.) And then his part was over so
But for all that it was brief, "Afternoon of a Faun" was beautiful. DH played a boy practicing in a studio, first alone, then with a girl, then alone again. From the start as he lay on the floor and arched his back, lifted each leg and stretched indolently, it was clear that he can command not only the stage but also every muscle in his body. The man is unspeakably graceful. The only other dancer yesterday with comparable presence was Jose Manuel Carreno, the power soloist from the pas de deux, but he came off as more self-satisfied. JMC looks elegant doing three technically astounding leaps in succession, but DH could
mesmerize me just as much by walking from one end of the stage to the other. I'd been babbling about him most of the afternoon, and we were not disappointed; "I see what you mean," chalcopyrite said
after "Faun" ended, looking suitably impressed.
Incidentally, he looked much younger in "Faun" than he did in "Swan Lake," so it is now possible to believe that he's TWENTY-ONE years old. ( Photographic evidence. ) Personally I prefer him older-looking, and was grateful to be sitting in the rear mezzanine with my overdue-for-prescription-update glasses so his face was blurry. Superficial? Maybe. But ballet is about aesthetics (and technical prowess) and that's a factor for me.
The woman behind us spent most of the intermissions yapping at her husband and young son about everything she knew of the company and the pieces -- the sort who broadcasts her questionable expertise at twice the necessary volume and calls "Bravo" too softly to be heard onstage but quite loudly enough for the immediate vicinity to know her opinion -- which provided us with entertainment between acts.
The pas de deux with two of the company's best dancers (as Our Personal Announcer repeatedly pointed
out) was a definite wow and "Rodeo" was a blast, not just because of the beef music. Even the lady's grouchy kid thought so; during curtain calls he conceded, "That was the only good one." My companions seemed to be having a good time queering it. To be fair, the producers were asking for it, with all the pastel costumes,
threesomes and an adorable main female character who spent most of the time in pants trying to be "one of the guys." Afterwards we sampled truffles from a tiny chocolatier across the
street, then came back in the rain, ordered Chinese and watched "Meet Joe Black," so all turned out well.
Never satisfied, and only more in the mood after watching the movie last night, I'm seriously considering going back to the City Center to see "The Green Table." It's described as "a medieval dance of death in
eight scenes" and is supposedly the most powerful anti-war statement ever staged with ballet dancers. It premiered in Europe in the '30s. Death is in every scene. I love anthropomorphic representations of Death.
David Hallberg plays him sometimes. I love David Hallberg. Perfect, yes? The trouble is, because they switch up the pieces and the performers each day, it's tricky to find a night with everything you want. Two dates work, and here is the choice: Suffer through "Les Sylphides" again to see DH play Death on a Wednesday night after work, or go to a Saturday matinee where someone else plays Death but DH is one of four dancers in a show-off piece and "Les Sylphides" isn't on the program.
Meanwhile, the e-Bay and Amazon purchases keep trickling in; I've got Thorslev's out-of-print The Byronic Hero: Types and Prototypes now, and Nina Auerbach's Our Vampires, Ourselves, which gets weird at the end but has lots on Byron and Polidori in the first chapter or two. Thorslev is exciting but I'm holding out for Atara Stein, which should be arriving early this week.
My father just walked in to ask whether I'd like to see "Bewitched" with him, again, to which my reply was, "The only thing worse than a romantic comedy is a romantic comedy we've already seen. With Will Ferrell." He's getting it anyway.
Off to Blockbuster, then, to see if they've picked up anything good lately. Anything other than starting this list of tasks, right?