As some of you may recall, item #30 on my Not-So-Bucket-List list was to see a ballet. The only time I have ever seen ballet was when I went to a few of Steph’s recitals. It got me thinking, and based on said thinking I had several realizations.
- I realized that I don’t like going to recitals where little girls are asked to dance like they work at the Manor, and
- I also realized that I needed to up the culture in my life.
Hence, I added attending a ballet to my Not-So-Bucket-List list. You know, cuz I’m all about the culture and stuff. Keeping with the mission of satisfying items on my Not-So-Bucket-List list, Gerarda and I boarded a bus for Toronto to meet Steph, have lunch, do a little shopping, and then attend my very first ballet.
We met Steph at the Queen Mother and had a nice bottle of wine or two1, plus several appetizers (spring rolls, calamari, spicy pumpkin dip, and edamame). The food was excellent, and the wine was uber tasty. Afterwards, we wandered Queen street to do a little shopping. And by a little shopping, I mean that I bought a swanky new pair of jeans, some swanky new dress shirts, some swanky new sweaters, and some swanky new t-shirts. I’m all about the swanky2.
After our shopping spree (and by our, I mean mine), we headed to a local creperie. Steph and Gerarda had some crepes (Nutella and dark chocolate, respectively), while I opted for an irish coffee, minus the whipped cream. Delicious!
Finally, the time had come to head to the Ballet. The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts was our destination. And what an amazing building. It is simply beautiful inside. The space is open and inviting, but sophisticated. The pictures really don’t do it justice. Of course, we had to sample some wine before the show (in this case, a glass of Trius Chardonnay). We may also have sampled some bubbly during the intermission :).
The ballet in question wasn’t a full show, per se, as much as it was a collection of performances. Steph felt that this might be a good spot for me to start my journey into culture. It was similar to a recital except with professional dancers, each performing a traditional and a contemporary Pas de Deux, and each competing to win the illustrious Erik Bruhn Prize. Appropriately the evening’s ballet was called
The 9th International Competition for the Erik Bruhn Prize.
The National Ballet of Canada website does a far better job describing the Erik Bruhn prize:
“Bruhn endowed a prize in his name in order to award two young dancers, one male and one female, who ‘reflect such technical ability, artistic achievement and dedication as I endeavoured to bring to dance.’ In 2009 a Choreographic Prize was added to the event to honour the best newly commissioned dance piece.“
This year, an audience selection was also up for grabs. That is, as audience members we were allowed to text our vote for our favourite male and female dancers, as well as our favorite choreographer.
Competing for the prize were dancers from the American Ballet Theatre, the Hamburg Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada, the Royal Danish Ballet, and the Stuttgart Ballet. The classical Pas de Deux were from La Sylphide, Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, Flower Festival in Genzano, and Don Quixote, respectively.
Personally, while I found the classical dances good, the contemporary dances were so much better. Of course, this neophyte doesn’t know enough to be able to judge the technique on display so I may be way off on my analysis. Regardless, I know what I like and I loved the contemporary performances. In particular, I loved the dancers from Stuttgart. I can’t really describe what the dance was, but I do know that it was amazing. Clearly the audience agreed; the Stuttgart dancers (Elisa Badenes and Daniel Camargo) received the audience choice awards.
Overall, it was an awesome day. It was most excellent to hang with Steph and Gerarda, and it was fun getting my culture on. If you have a chance, definitely see a ballet if you get the chance. At the least, check out the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Either way, you are sure to be impressed. And who doesn’t like a little culture now and then?
1 Clearly it was two bottles. In this case, two bottles of Trapiche Malbec.
2 So for those keeping score, I’m all about the culture and I’m all about the swanky.