For as long as I can remember I have been in love with ballet. As a child I went to ballet classes for many years even after it was painfully obvious I was not cut out to be the next Margot Fonteyn! Our local theatre often hosted touring productions and my Dad often took me to see them, Coppelia being our join favourite. My Dad, who also first introduced me to opera, spent many happy hours regaling me with stories of his visits to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and seeing Nureyev and Fonteyn, amongst others dance. What fabulous memories he passed onto me.
Now, last year, I had a big birthday and my lovely cousin, knowing how much I had always wanted to see a ballet at Covent Garden, bought me tickets to the ballet as a present. Alas, the day came and I was ill – calamity! Luckily, she was able to return the ticket and we made another date for June. I had been looking forward to this day for so long (having longed to go for the best part of 30 years) that I was worried I would be disappointed by the reality. I needn’t have worried at all – the whole experience was magical.
The programme was a triple: The Dream, The Concert and a totally new short ballet, Connectome which was only on it’s fourth performance. I enjoyed this new ballet although some of the modern choreography wasn’t to my taste but I totally loved The Concert and The Dream. The Concert is a comedic ballet in which the dancers are the audience of a solo pianist, who appears on the stage with them. It is very funny.
However, The Dream is the ballet that reduced me to tears. Upon reading the programme, it was immediately apparent that this was very likely to have been a production that my Dad would have seen when it was first performed in 1964. The choreography by Frederick Ashton is much more to my classical taste and the beauty of the music and the dancing, as well as thinking “I wish I could tell my Dad about this” meant that I was almost a sobbing wreck by the end. My cousin asked me if I liked it and was slightly taken aback when I managed to croak “I miss my Dad”.
Until that moment, all the feelings of loss and grief I had disregarded in the excitement of the evening came together with the beauty of the music and the dance and the emotion came to the fore. I am so grateful that I had the chance to experience it with family – thank you Corrine xxx