My son and I were looking at a sheet of stickers, pouring over the colors and designs, searching for the exact right one to pick to decorate each of our hands.
“I don’t want the ballerina one, because only girls can be ballerinas,” he explained matter-of-fact-ly.
“Oh, that’s not true!” I exclaimed. “Boys can be ballerinas, too!”
“I know, but I think only girls can dance.”
“That’s not true at all! Boys can be great dancers! You took a dance class and you had so much fun!” (He was the only boy in his dance class, but he DID have so much fun and he was very good at it.)
Our conversation faded as stickers were picked and the next activity overtook our attention.
Days later, I would attend the Richmond Ballet’s Studio One opening performance of their 30th anniversary season.
Not your traditional pink tutu ballet performance, audience members will be treated to the contemporary ballets Bow Out and Phoenix Rising, both performed in the intimate Studio One Theatre setting.
With minimal sets and costumes, audience members are intimately involved with the performance. You are not distracted by other details and are left to focus solely on the music and the intricate movements of the dancers. You can see the sweat and hear the breathing and the foot steps as the dancers bring the ballets to life and you feel, almost, a part of it.
I chose not to bring my son because it was late for him to be out on a school night, (I know, I’m such a boring mom, right?) and also these contemporary ballets are geared toward a more mature audience.
Though certainly more suited for an adult evening out, (you can even order wine during intermission!) I did see one little girl there who sat through the performance very well. I really wished I had brought my son, because these pieces feature a very strong male dance presence; something rare and inspiring in the pre-conceived notions of girl ballerinas.
Whether you have never seen a ballet or have been a long time fan, this is a beautiful show that will make you fall in love with ballet. At the very least, you will leave feeling very impressed.
I really liked how Phoenix Rising opened with a taped interview with the chorographer Phillip Neal, who returned to the Richmond Ballet after 23 years of dancing with the New York City ballet. It was very interesting to hear the background of the piece and then watch it unfold on stage.
The Studio One performances of Bow Out and Phoenix Rising only runs through October 6th, so make sure to purchase your tickets now!
The Richmond Ballet has many other exciting performances coming up in their 30th anniversary season, including performances geared toward younger audiences with The Nutcracker in December and Cinderella in February.
For more information about the Richmond Ballet and their exciting 30th Anniversary season, and for ticket information, visit www.richmondballet.com.
*I was provided a free ticket to attend the performance of Bow Out and Phoenix Rising. All opinions concerning ballet, wine at intermission, and how late is too late on a school night are my own.*