Last night I took Meera to see the Moscow Festival Ballet’s performance of The Sleeping Beauty. It was absolutely exquisite in every way.
The boys had basketball practice, so the plan was for Braydon to take them while I gave Meera a very special night out. She’s 5.5, this was her first ballet, and I was not sure how it would go. I had explained to her repeatedly that there wouldn’t be any words, and she seemed to understand the concept of “dancing out” the story. She’s currently taking a Creative Movement class after school once a week, so she gets the concept of expression through movement. And she knows the story of Sleeping Beauty inside and out (it has always been her favorite princess story). But I still wasn’t sure how we’d fare (plus, it started at 8pm, which is already 1/2 hour past her bedtime; and it was a Friday — the end of a tiring week). I figured if she made it to intermission and got even some enjoyment out of it, we’d be golden.
I had hoped for, but could not have expected, what happened. She was enchanted and thrilled and enthralled by the entire production. At many moments the ballet literally took her breath away, and she’d audibly gasp so that several of the beautiful, ballet-loving, gray-haired men and women in the audience around us would smile and nod in delight (there were very few children in the audience). I’m not sure who enjoyed the ballet more— Meera, or those gentle arts-adoring seniors surrounding us who got so much joy in sharing Meera’s first ballet with her and me (several came to me after the show and commented on how “lovely” and “wonderful” it was to see me take my young child to such a production; and how they were sure she’d remember it for the rest of her life).
Meera made it through the whole show, finally giving up and falling asleep sitting upright in her chair in the last five minutes. But for the first two hours she leaned over to me and whispered, “This is awesome!” at least a half dozen times. She adored it.
I had brought a small pair of binoculars, thinking Meera might like to use them a bit. She kept them hung around her neck throughout the entire ballet and watched at least 2/3 of the performance through them. She notices every detail— the costumes, the jewelry, the pink jewels adorning the silver crown on Princess Aurora, the gold sparkled belt on the Prince, what color tights they are all wearing, the turquoise feathers in the hand-held fan of the queen, the smoke marking the entrance and exit of Maleficent. I appreciate how much she appreciates it all.
I got so much enjoyment from the ballet too — but for me, at least half of that joy came from experiencing it with my arts-loving daughter.