Sunday, May 26, 2019

Blog 19, keeping balance in the daily struggle and visiting Swan Lake

I was in early to do my warming up exercises. And I did a few stretch exercises. I read somewhere that stretching eases the mind when you perform them patiently. Yes, it’s an excellent prelude to the ballet lesson, and creates a mindful state. How coincidental that Lyda started class and mentioned how the plié can calm the mind. 

I’m practicing ballet 1 ½ years by now. How funny to realize that things that seem so normal now weren’t that normal before! It took me almost a lifetime to start with ballet. And now I make the plié as if I did it all my life (Sorry Lyda, though I know it is still not the perfect plié, but to me it is). French words like soubresaut, changement des pieds, and echappé don’t dazzle me anymore, talking about Vaganova style or Kirov ballet gives satisfaction, reading about Nureyev and other great dancers is pleasant and inspiring.
This whole outburst of culture and refinement came straight into my life. And it satisfies a deeply felt need I could never relieve before. 

There’s a pile of books on my desk about ballet. I read and read. I stretch and stretch. I dance and dance, on Sunday mornings I even practice moves of ballet in an empty boxing gym. 
I will never become a top dancer, I know. But I don’t feel old. I feel young and full of energy and expectation to go on in this next phase of my life.

In my diaries I read about my earlier quest, to live a life that is an expression of who I am. And ballet is one of those pieces of the puzzle I found. 

And yes, there is also the boxing and cross fit (I wrote about that in my earlier blogs). Yesterday I went to my boxing gym and had a terrific workout. Hammering on the heavy bag is a mighty workout! And compared to ballet it may sound rude to box, but I guess it’s all about keeping balance. Daily life is no romance. It feels good to express the dualities in my life in sport and dancing.
Things are adding up. 

Next Wednesday the Swan Lake! My daughter surprised me with 2 tickets for this beautiful “ballet of ballets”, composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, performed by the National Ballet in Amsterdam. 
Rudi van Dantzig’s choreography respects the surviving parts of Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov’s original ballet of 1895, leaving the second act and several other famous scenes – including the spectacular ‘Black Swan pas de deux’ with its 32 fouetté turns – virtually unchanged. However, Van Dantzig’s choreography emphasizes on the story as a human struggle, interpreting the ballet’s premise of a young man who must acquire a bride but fails as a direct reflection of Tchaikovsky’s own life. 

Yep, the (daily) struggle of a fellow human, hammered into the shape of a beautiful piece of art, of music and classical ballet.
The ordinary becomes special. That’s what I call actual refinement. That’s art. I’m already enchanted.

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