Night at the Ballet – Why everyone should go, if only once
10 August, 2016
Last week I decided to attend a ballet – “the Nutcracker”, accompanied by a friend of mine who also studies Russian in Moscow.
Although she is a seasoned ballet watcher, this was my first time at a ballet. Despite it really not being the kind of entertainment I would normally go to (putting it diplomatically), I would recommend anyone studying in Russia to go, if only to get a feel for the Russian cultural experience that surrounds it.
Normally we would’ve gone to the Bolshoi theatre, but they are on tour during the summer months. Thus, we found another theatre with performances, the Novaya theatre. It’s a slightly smaller theatre. However, tickets were relatively cheap, just 1000 roubles. This makes it a good place to see a performance if you want to avoid the higher demand for tickets and higher prices of the Bolshoi.
The ballet is taken seriously in Russia, and is an occasion to dress up. Turning up in a t-shirt and trainers is a definite no, unless you want to stand out for all the wrong reasons.
Throughout the performance was very impressed by the skill of the performers. However, I spent the vast majority of the time without the slightest idea what was happening on stage. Even now I don’t know which dancer was playing the part of “the nutcracker”!
Nevertheless, my friend, who managed to follow the performance without difficulty, pointed out some of the aspects she found particularly impressive. She loved the “Pas de Deux” (I’ve been told it’s the part when the man shows off the woman). She also loved the costume design and the colours. As I’m colourblind, it was more difficult for me to notice.
In contrast, the music was much more recognisable for a ballet novice. Written by Tchaikovsky, the music was well performed live by the orchestra.
The ballet turned out not to be for me. But I would definitely advise you to try it. You never know, you might love it.
Lawrence Toye, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz Moscow.