Nov 18, 2008
I attended the ballet last Thursday (YES I'M STILL BREATHING) and it was phenomenal. I don't use that word lightly--phenomenal things in my life include 'the strange concept of Heaven', 'bacon-wrapped shrimp', and 'the ever-elusive G-spot'--so believe me when I say, the ballet was phenomenally bad.
Just one part, though--the rest of it was pretty interesting... but since the word 'interesting' is like a shot of seriously-underwhelming espresso (*waves at Starbucks*), we're going to focus on the bad parts. The PHENOMENALLY BAD parts. Observe 22 seconds of One Flat Thing, reproduced:
After that intro, this is what followed:
Screaming monkeys entered the stage, beneath catapulting cats and airborne ballerinas; slap-happy pre-teens got hormonal, screeching and flailing with unused energy and angst, while the underage Russian contortionists silently contorted upon white plastic tables. Cheerleaders hopped up on mescaline cheered with frenetic confusion, while the drag queens dragged and got dramatic; zombies lay underneath the tables, and the over-sized gorillas made an arm-swinging scene. B-Boys hip-hopped on sharp desk corners, while meandering hippies wandered in and out of consciousness. People disappeared, re-appeared, jumped on tables, and flung each other into the heavens--it was like an unrehearsed, questionably- choreographed junior high school classroom: total chaos. Luckily, it was set to "music" that can only be described as The Soundtrack Of The Universe: it was like constant white noise on the Starship Enterprise. Every screechy, feedback-loving 'note' made me consider, in all seriousness, investing in a can of gasoline and one small match with a very big purpose. I imagine the choreographer being a bit like Helen Keller, which makes the whole thing unfortunate.
Basically, it was twenty minutes of performance art gone retarded; how is it considered 'the ballet' if there are no toe shoes, no fancy costuming, and no accompanying symphony? Watching classically-trained ballerinas, in hoodies and cargo pants, slapping desks and acting like one-legged pre-teen primates--complete with a 'RECESS!' shout-out in the middle--is not my idea of a fine art performance. It sounds more like being stuck in a daycare without air or windows, which is not an appropriate feeling when your tickets are over a hundred bucks each. To me, the ballet needs to be slightly boring in order to fulfill its destiny; if it was a hootenanny hoedown, every man, woman and child would head to the ballet, and that simply cannot happen.
'One Flat Thing, reproduced' was certainly compelling, though, and the Pacific Northwest Ballet made a gutsy move by unveiling it again. When people walked out of this performance in March--like, IN THE MIDDLE OF IT--the PNB had two choices: 1) scratch it for a better piece of work, or 2) claim insanity, and perform it again. They went with insanity and decided to reproduce, which--for a lot of crazy people--is never a good idea. Especially if you're the Helen Keller of the modern dance world.
All of my blogs have been updated.
[RADWORDS]: HELEN KELLER, BALLET, STARBUCKS, HOOTENANNY, CATAPULTING CATS.