An Evening At The Ballet

Last night, Boyfriend and I went to the ballet.  Well, close enough (for now) – we went to a cinema showing of the Royal Ballet presents Manon.  It was awesome!

Marianela Nunez as Manon, Federico  Bonelli as Des Grieux.  As for the rest of the dancer’s names, I don’t know; I pulled these off the website at Fathom Events.  Unfortunately, the other dancer’s names are not listed on there. They were shown before the show started but I’m not the best at remembering names – and it was much too dark to use my go-to strategy for remembering: taking notes – so not only do I not know the names of the dancers but also the characters.  Both male leads, Des Grieux and Manon’s brother, were incredibly talented dancers so at times I couldn’t keep track of who was who.  You know, chiseled good looks and delectably scultped bodies ( did I just say that? Oh yes, I did!)

I purposely did not look up a plot synopsis beforehand, thinking that if I did it would spoil  it.  Or something like that. Apparently at the time I thought it was like having a friend tell you the ending for a movie before you see it and it made perfect sense.  Afterwards, I’m wondering what was I thinking?

But the first main surprise I had was, wait, Manon is a girl?  Since I hadn’t looked up anything – though on World Ballet Day I did catch some of the Canadian Ballet’s rehearsal for it – I had assumed that Manon was the name of the male main character. You know, because Manon sounds like “man”. Yeah, now that (lack of) logic sounds really dumb.  To be fair, Boyfriend thought the same thing.

Highlights (in my opinon, and from my non-notetaking memory.)

-The soundtrack was beautiful,  just beautiful.

– During the 1st act the male dancers did this really acrobatic dance involving cartwheels.  I enjoy acrobatics in ballet!

– 1st act pas de deux, the dance during which Manon decides she like Des Grieux and ends when they run off together.  It was beautiful, to hell with it, let’s elope – so romantic (teenage-me would want to strangle now-me for just saying that. Take that, old-me!)

– The  dance with Des Grieux and Manon’s brother at the end of act 1 = awesome. Amazing jumps and leaps! I love it when two talented male dancers share the stage.  The power that men can potentially have in their jumps is just incredible, and these two dancers were right up there. Throughout the whole ballet I kept trying to decide which one I enjoyed watching more.  Still undecided, they both rocked!

– The “drunk” dance during act 2.  This was by Manon’s brother.  He’s really talented, to be able to pull off a  convincing drunk while remaining so graceful. didn’t miss a step!  Would love to look up clips for more of this dancer’s work on youtube, but unfortunately I don’t know his name.

– Also in act 2, there was a female dancer who was wearing pants and doing grand plies in second en pointe.  Didn’t catch her or the character’s names, but she was entertaining to watch.

-Sword fight near end of act 2, durinig which Manon’s brother is fatally shot.  Love watching “fighting” scenes choreographed as dance – so similar to martial arts movies, which I enjoy greatly.  But then I was sad, no more seeing Manon’s brother dance.

– The dance when jailer is chasing Manon around after she’s been arrested and deported. Probobly a “politically incorrect” dance but then this is a very adult ballet.  Throughout there was plenty of groping of the female characters, as well as a scene that if I’m not mistaken  takes place at a bar – almost typoed “barre” as force of habit, lol – where men pick out which women they want.  Anyway, the choreography for this dance was very interesting to me.  The choreography for the whole ballet was rather awesome, actually.  There was a lot of pas de deux stuff involving throws and catches and many difficult-looking moves.  Lots of sliding on the floor and going from sliding to being in the air and vice versa. I’m pretty sure for the most part I was sitting there with my jaw hanging open (except when I was stuffing it with the free popcorn we got, or the many snacks I snuck in.)

Oh yes, we got free popcorn! Apparently due to some technical difficulties the sound was malfunctioning during the performance.  To make up for it, the theater gave us each a voucher for a free small popcorn.  I love free stuff! The weirdest thing is that right before we walked in and handed the ticket-checker-guy (ummm, usher?) our tickets, Boyfriend and I had just been saying that maybe it’d be ok if we got some popcorn. So it’s like the decision was made for us, I love it.

-3rd act pas de deux,  at the end of which Manon dies in Des Grieux’s arms. Oh my god! so heartwrentchingly dramatic, it gives me chills now thinking about it. Excellent acting from Federico Bonelli, in addition to his amazing dancing.  Loved it so much!

So, as you can tell, I had a blast.  Can’t wait to do it again, and hopefully the live (in person) ballet soon as well.  Something I really liked – besides the obviousness of seeing the ballet – was that Boyfriend went with me. Ballet’s not really his thing, but we never do “date night”  anymore or anything like that – 12 years together is a long time, especially for people our age (40% of my life!) – so it means a lot to me that we did something couple-y. (So if you’re secretly lurking – like you hinted once – thank you, Boyfriend.)

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