Essay: Theater Ballet

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Theater/Ballet Reflection

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I was truly impressed after attending a recent performance of Mikhailovsky's Ballet Flames of Paris at the Segerstorm Center for Performing Arts in Costa Mesa, CA. The Segerstrom Theater is exactly what a theater should be. The structure itself is awesome and inspiring. I found the architecture so beautiful and modern that it made the whole theater experience unforgettable. The theater is fairly large with four levels of seating. My party was located on the Orchestra Terrace, which is technically the second level. I thought our seats were great. The sound and lighting were excellent from my vantage point. I had an unobstructed view with what I considered to be just far enough back so I could see the expressions of the dancers, and see the scene unfold from both sides in a single view. This ballet was a fast-paced production that moved through five scenes in three acts, all in two hours and ten minutes. Had it not been for the informational program the ballet put on an hour before the curtain went up, I would have gotten lost in the story line.

What is most interesting about the plot of this particular piece is that it is essentially political in nature. It was composed shortly after the Russian Revolution which took place at the start of the 20th century. During that time, the arts in Russia were making a dedicated effort to place the context of their own revolution within the wider sphere of political upheavals that had taken place in history. Thus, this work depicts the French Revolution, and the triumphant taking of the Tuileries by the Marseillais. The ballet tells the tale of a pair of peasants who are insulted by the French aristocracy and witness the assault of their father who attempts to intervene. That opening sequence serves as a case study for the type of French arrogance and abuse of power that the peasants seek to overthrow, and do so with a dramatic, tragic finish.

My overall impression was this was an absolutely incredible performance. As a dancer I know how difficult it is to do a triple. But these dancers did triples in the air and landed cleanly on their feet every time they attempted one. Their technical prowess is a reflection of the many years they have spent in training, and which was typified by the efforts of the lead characters. Quite simply, there are a number of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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