Tonight Kitten, Oscelot, Kitten's mom and I went to see the Memphis Ballet preform. As you know, I absolutely love ballet. Her mom got ahold of the tickets for us, and the seats were absolutely amazing. We were in the orchestra, dead center, far enough back to see everything.
They did four separate short peices, all of them different, and they were all absolutely beautiful. The first one was a modern expression of joy, and how joy spreads through interaction with other people. The second one was a modern interpretation of The Green Curtain (a shot story) and was a profound peice about lost love, greiving, and the madness it can bring to a person's life. The third peice was about a woman who was desloate, but brought to happiness through the support and love of her friends. It was really uplifting, and if I were to guess, the one most people enjoyed the most, because it was the easiest to understand. The last peice was a collection of Roy Orbison songs and I really loved it. It was, without a doubt, my favorite. It was the most modern from a musical standpoint, and the most classical and technically challenging from a dance perspective. It really moved me. Also, it inspired me to get ahold of some Roy Orbison. I forget how beautiful and emotionally deep his work can be.
I enjoyed the dance very much.
Now I must rant.
Because I am pretty sure I live in one of the most culturally challenged places on the planet. Seriously.
First, I want to preface this with a disclaimer. I know I'm a snob. I know it. I was brought up in the theater. I was raised by the dancers in my ballet company I preformed with. I was young when I started attending ballet and opera galas. I know these things influence me. I also know, because of it, that once upon a time it was not rare that people in my town knew how to behave at a theater. Which is why I am so mad.
I wore an evening dress tonight. The girls wore suits. Now granted, the dress I chose was rather casual for an evening dress, and in any other city I would have been dressed fabulously, but underdressed for a night at the ballet. I wore my hair down, I went without jewelry, my coat didn't match my dress. But you would have thought I was Queen Victoria compared to the people I saw tonight. When, tell me, did it become appropriate to wear torn jeans and an Angry Birds t-shirt to the theater? I was appalled at the amount of short skirts, knee high boots and no hosiery that I saw. Men were there wearing their work clothes. Maybe I'm being judgemental or old fashioned, but I believe that if a company of preformers takes months to prepare a beautiful, emotionally mature, technically perfect peice of work just for me, the least I can do is show my appreciation by dressing like what they do is important.
Say nothing of the amount of children I saw running around the theater. Now, I believe children should be introduced to the arts. Bu I also believe that they should be taught how to behave. I went to my first ballet when I was about seven. I wore the dress my grandmother had bought me for Christmas. It had that scratchy netting underneath it, and it drove me nuts, but I never so much as scratched my legs because I knew if I were rude enough to disrupt the preformance for anyone, I'd be hauled out of the theater and skinned alive. It was one of the most moving and memorable moments of my childhood. I could forget that my dress was scratchy because I was busy watching the stage.
During the first preformance,there was a child a few rows up from us crying. The parent never considered getting up and giving us peace. Another child shouted YaY!!!! really loudly after the preformance. The audience, well, most of them, laughed indulgently, so the kid felt like it was okay to do that any time there was a pause in the proceedings.
There was a group of teenagers that were eventually sitting behind me that kept getting moved from seat to seat because they weren't sitting where they purchased tickets for. They moved four times before settleing in. Annoying. What happened to ushers checking tickets?
Also, any time there was a pause in the show, people would start talking. Loudly. The woman behind me, a terrible parent I might add, was complaining loudly about her kids and their after school activities and how inconvenient they were to her. She used a lot of expletives. And here I thought we were in a classy establishment, not a trailer park...
I was also disturbed at the amount of eating going on. I know you arent' allowed to take in food to the theater proper. Now I could complain about the cheap white wine in plastic glasses served by the theater, but I cn let it go in deference to their needing to make a buck. People want wine? People have no taste? Skin 'em...although when I was growing up, you received wine and champagne in real glasses that you returned to a porter BEFORE you went into the preformance. Again, this may make me a snob. I'm okay with it. What I'm not okay with is the people behind us rattling bags of peanuts throughout the whole ballet. Or the guy with the 40 of Budweiser sitting in front of me guzzling and clinking his can over th sound of the music.
Ettiquette is dead. People didn't know to wait until the end of a peice to start clapping. They just clapped anytime there was a break in the music, which to me showed they had no idea what was going on. They clapped when the lights went down. They clapped when the curtain got stuck on the flyrail and didn't come down properly. They clapped when they fixed it...It killed me. Oh, and some people LAUGHED during the Roy Orbison peice, and believe me, there was nothing funny about it. I jsut don't understand.
Is it too much to expect to go to a ballet or an opera, see people dressed properly, behaving themselves, and understanding what's going on? Is it wrong for me to want children who are of an appropriate age to be sitting quietly, listening and watching, learning about the rich and beautiful artistic heritage in front of them? For their parents to respect the dancers and the art form enough to want their children to respect and appreciate it? Is that elitist? Maybe, but it doesn't mean I'm wrong that those people lack culture...
The ballet itself was wonderful. If you get a chance to watch the Memphis Ballet preform, take it. They're a talented bunch of dancers with a lot of clarity about their vision for dance. Their ability to execute beautifully choreographed peices that are emotionally and technically complex is admirable.
If you run in to any of the jerks I was at the ballet with tonight, kick them for me will you? Because I'm a lady, and I can't.