I think I’ve always been a bit of a ballet junkie. I can remember being five or so, seeing some ballet on TV, and then almost immediately begging, begging, begging my Mom for ballet lessons. Now, my Mom was one of those people who felt that, if one started something, one must finish it. It was made clear that if, indeed, I was to get these ballet lessons, then I had to be prepared to stick it out. I couldn’t just quit if I decided I didn’t like it, or if things got tough – I had to promise that I would stay in the lessons for the long haul. I promised.
Well, my Mom got a list of things we needed, I got dressed up and off we went. Now, I had the tights and the slippers, but no tutu. I was confident though that the tutus would be handed out as soon as we arrived at class. Then the teacher arrived and started barking out orders, but all I could think was, “What? NO TUTUS!?!” You see, it turns out that you did NOT get a tutu for signing up for ballet class. I immediately wanted to quit - emphasis on the ‘immediately’ - but my Mom wouldn’t let me. Fortunately for me, we ended up moving away about six months later – saved!
It turns out my interest was more in the realm of ballet experience rather than in the ballet participation. But it wasn’t until much, much later that I chanced to see my first live professional ballet. And what a ballet it was: Sadler’s Wells Ballet Company of London came to town to do Swan Lake, and my high school teacher took the class to see it. I was in heaven.
Since then, I have seen a number of different companies dance Swan Lake, and have also seen many, many other ballets. I’m an addict; I’ll admit it.
So you can imagine how excited I was when I heard the latest: Swan Lake is currently on tour. This is James Kudelka’s version, originally premiered in 1999, which is based on the original (first premiered in St. Petersburg in 1877). Kudelka is the first Canadian to choreograph Swan Lake.
The National Ballet will be dancing this latest version of the classic Swan Lake at The Centre for the Performing Arts in Vancouver from September 28 to October 1; tickets go on sale August 20.