First Trip to the Ballet

Today was Keana and Maia’s first trip to the ballet and what was on the bill? None other than The Nutcracker. It was Grandma Jennie’s Christmas gift, and we were all excited. Sarah hadn’t been since she was a kid (to that very same theater), and I realized that I had never been to a ballet before either.

Sarah got the girls dressed up in their holiday finest, and we dropped Aliya off at Grandma’s house. It was weird leaving our fifth member behind, but there was no way she was going to go. So it was a little sad but also kind of special just being able to focus on Keana and Maia.

Maia was hating her stockings and shoes all the way to the William Saroyan Theater, but once we got out of the car and headed towed the large building, she was immediately distracted. The theater is really nice and we got there with plenty of time to hang out and enjoy the experience. The girls were very anxious to get inside and see what it was all about.

We found our seats and I noticed right away that there wasn’t a live orchestra which was really surprising and also pretty disappointing, but I tried not to let that soil my experience. The girls were buzzing with anticipation, and Maia especially liked the self-folding seats. The lights dimmed, the music started, and the curtain raised. Show time.

Throughout the show I looked over to see what the girls’ reactions were, and they were pretty engrossed, for the first 30 minutes. Then the hunger and tiredness kicked in a little. Surprisingly, they had very few questions. We had sort of prepped them with what to expect, so maybe that helped. By intermission though, Keana was sad with hunger and Maia really needed to be close to Sarah. I tried to get them to go to the bathroom, but they insisted they didn’t have to go. The lights dimmed, the music started, and Act II began.

Maia was definitely having a harder time paying attention, but there was more action and more frequent cast changes, so they were pretty into it. The Russian dancers were almost more B-Boy than Russian, but were still really impressive and got the audience pumped up (and gave the girls a little jolt). They even had a dude in a wheelchair doing stands on his head, wheelchair lifted straight in the air. Crazy. I felt sort of bad for the other dancers in the other segments, because I’m sure they were doing really impressive stuff, but the crowd reacted much more boisterously to the Russian dance crew.

15 minutes to the end Keana started complaining about having to go to the bathroom really bad, but I convinced her to hold it telling her it was almost over and I didn’t want her to miss the end. The Pas de Deux at the end was really well done and you could tell the principals were quite talented. I couldn’t help but think they cut the orchestra to pay for better dancers, but it was a ballet, so that’s probably a good thing. Still, I was bummed the girls did ‘t get the live orchestra experience too (of course, they had no idea). Anyway, when all was said and done, the lifts were amazing and so was the footwork (or whatever it’s called). The bows at the end were fun and the size of the cast was really impressive.

The girls also enjoyed catching glimpses of the cast in their costumes in the lobby, but were pretty much ready to bounce at that point. When I asked them which were their favorite sections/dancers, they both replied “all of them”. So there you go, the first trip to the ballet. I’m really thankful we could go as a family and I’m looking forward to future performances. Now that Keana and Maia are a little older, these sort of excursions are becoming possible, and today was a really nice taste of what’s to come.

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