Seven-year-old Emma and I had the wonderful treat on Friday night of complimentary tickets to the Boston Ballet’s opening night performance of Sleeping Beauty. Emma was so excited! She borrowed a book on dance from the library, and talked to her teacher at school about it. And she was not disappointed! When the orchestra started playing the opening notes of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece, she leaned over and whispered, “Mama! They are really good!” Then the dancers came out, and she was mesmerized – by the choreography, the costumes, and the set. I expected her to get all excited by the good fairies, but she most loved the costume for Carabosse (the fairy who curses Aurora) – played here by Erica Cornejo:
As Emma put it, “her dress is so ugly!” I do agree with Emma that the wardrobe design (and the dancing and set design) was impeccable. I particularly loved the sleeves for the white cat dancer that appears with Puss’n Boots. Emma thought it was funny to see these characters from other fairy tales (Red Riding Hood and the wolf also appear, as do Beauty and the Beast) at the end.
The performance started at 7:30pm – half an hour after Emma’s bedtime – and we got out around 10:30pm. She did fall asleep at the very end, for just a few minutes, but that was from sheer exhaustion. She loved every minute of the ballet.
Now Emma wants to learn ballet – she was showing me the information about classes run by the Boston Ballet in the program. And she already checked out a few more ballet books from the library.
I had Emma write up a few questions for a ballet dancer before we went, and Rachel Cossar – who played one of the Lilac Fairy attendants – was kind enough to answer them! Here’s what Rachel, who competed on Canada’s national rhythmic gymnastics team before dancing with the Boston Ballet, had to say:
How did you learn to be such a good ballet dancer?
Learning to be a good ballet dancer is an ongoing thing. I am definitely still on that road :) Taking class everyday is like taking your vitamins though!
What is your favorite thing in ballet?
My favorite thing in ballet is performing. Those moments on stage make all of your rehearsals and hard work worth it:)
What is the easiest thing in ballet?
I am not sure if that exists..haha. Maybe…mmm nope, don’t think that exists.
What is the hardest thing in ballet?
The hardest thing in ballet is dealing with injuries, because not being able to dance when you really want to is the most difficult thing ever.
How many dance performances have you been in?
Too many to count!
Is ballet fun?
Ballet is very fun, especially when you get to dance and rehearse with your friends.
What advice do you have for kids?
I would say that even though ballet is difficult, the friendships you build and things you learn as you progress are invaluable. And when you do get on stage, there is nothing like it!
Thank you, Rachel, for answering Emma’s question, and thank you to the Boston Ballet for a magical mother-daughter evening!
I always wanted to take ballet as a kid, but I never did. Did you take ballet lessons when you were young? Do your kids?