Actually in all honesty, I’m perfectly content to not be a ballerina and to simply admire the grace and beauty of those who can perform like that. A couple of weeks ago I went to see the Joffrey’s spring performance, Eclectica, and as always it was absolutely stunning. Though I have to say the older I get the more I accept that I just infinitely prefer classical ballet. I love the lines and the grace and beauty. My favourite out of the three pieces was “Reflections” which was choreographed by Gerald Arpino. The name of the choreographer struck me because I recall in the 2009 Spring Program there was also a piece by him that I also liked quite a lot called “Round of Angels”. I think he has an incredible knack for putting beautiful lines together.
Although last year’s favourite for me was definitely Valses Poeticos, choreographed by Helgi Tomasson. I can’t help but feeling like a child looking at the simple beauty of music and two people dancing so beautifully together. It’s novel for me every time.
Sometimes life can be so totally serendipitous. Today has been like that and I try to cherish these little moments.
The most serendipitous moment today was when my friend, Jason, and I were interested in a chamber concert that the CSO was putting on at the Art Institute. Well let’s be honest, we didn’t know it was at the Art Institute until we showed up at Symphony Center and they were looking at us a little crazy and sent us across the street to the Art Institute. The show was supposedly sold out but we decided to ask at will call anyway. Luckily (or serendipitously) for us there was this woman there with 2 extra tickets! And 1 was even a student ticket which I can totally use since I’m still in grad school. It just worked out so beautifully. It’s like the world intended for us to go to this concert. I even had the exact amount of cash for the student ticket and totally not enough for a real ticket. Sometimes it’s great how life works out.
So Jason and I got to see the Burnham Trio perform Shastakovich’s Piano Trio No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 67 and Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio in A Minor, Op. 50. It was incredible. The Shastakovich piece was absolutely heart-breakingly beautiful. The theme for the afternoon was Mourning and Memory. And the concert was followed by a short tour through the museum of several pieces that tied in with the theme. It was actually quite a lovely afternoon. I seriously love that the CSO and Art Institute sponsor series like this that promote beautiful music and modern art. It’s just another reason why I adore living in Chicago. Finding little gems like this that the city has to offer.
Whatever one might say about Michael Jackson, no one can deny that the man was extremely talented and changed the face of music. I do not believe the world has seen such genius in ages. He changed the entire shape of how popular music was viewed and what performers were expected to do. And he began his magnificent career at the age of 5.
People have speculated for a long time about how messed up he was and all the drama surrounding children but this is a man that was in the spotlight from a very small age. And not just one of those one-hit wonders or children in commercials etc, this is someone who was literally a huge star – comparable to Mozart in my opnion, simply due to the age and the type of change he created – from the age 5 onwards. I think to expect perfection in our celebrities/public figures is a bit much considering humans are inherently flawed. I think the loss of Michael Jackson is the loss of someone truly remarkable. It’s always a sad day when that happens. I surely hope that people will remember him for the innovative genius that he was and not the drama that surrounded his later life.
This past weekend I saw the Spring Program at the Joffrey Ballet and I think what I was most surprised about was that the theater was half empty. I mean it was just unreal. It’s amazing to see how significantly the recession is effecting everything. The part I found most amazing was that the least expensive seats in the house were completely empty. It’s fascinating that everyone has cut back so much. Even with the bailouts, there is such an impact to the arts. I find it quite tragic because I thought the performance was quite stunning.
I have to say I wasn’t a huge fan of the first piece which was Les Noces – choreography by Bronislava Nijinska, music by Igor Stravinsky. The music was stunning but I wasn’t really into the way Nijinska choreographed the piece. I think I tend to like dances that flow a bit more. To be sure the dancing was beautiful and the choreography was certainly dramatic, just not my style.
Now the second piece, Valses Poeticos – choreography by Helgi Tomasson, music by Enrique Granados, was absolutely stunning. I loved it. It was a piece between two dancers with the pianist on stage with them. It was so simple and delicately done. It was literally like watching a love story played out in front of your eyes by these artists with no words needing to be said.
I also loved the third piece, Round of Angels – choreography by Gerald Arpino, music by Gustav Mahler. I wasn’t really expecting to love this piece at all because I thought it was just some art-house thing about angels. But I believe this is what they call poetry in motion. Literally. It was so visually stunning. It was a piece all about lines and how bodies in motion can look so artful together. I think this was possibly the most visually appealing piece I have ever seen.
The last piece, Carousel (A Dance) – choreography by Christopher Wheeldon, music by Richard Rodgers, was quite good but nothing in comparison to the two in the middle. It was certainly interesting and beautifully danced, just not quite the same dramatic effect of Round of Angels or the incredible simplicity of Valses Poeticos.
I would recommend that if you have the time and the finances and if these pieces are performed anywhere you can find them. I would recommend going to see them. I know that the economy makes things difficult right now but I have always believed in supporting the arts. And I get calls from the opera, symphony and ballet in Chicago, so I know they must be having a difficult time. While I can’t commit to being a subscriber, I certainly do try to make the performances I can budget in.