The Scottish Saltire

The Scottish Saltire

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Ballet...or...Dancing With The Stars

When Barbara and Peter invited me to go to the ballet I assumed it would be a classical performance. Having never been to a ballet before, I enthusiastically accepted their invitation. But as it turned out tonight's performance was not classical at all. It was a performance by Hubbard Street Dance Chicago a modern dance troupe from, well....Chicago. Afterward, Barbara explained to me that there really isn't a distinction made between the different types of dance that one might see when attending the Mannheim Ballet. So tonight was not what I had expected at all. No ballet slippers, no tutus, no swans. But, rather, a high energy show by a group of amazing young dancers accompanied by really good music. I was not in the least disappointed. I love modern dance. I am always amazed at the beauty that can be created by the movement of the human body. The first part of the performance had a very classical feel to it, though. Very smooth and romantic dances but definitely with a modern flair. The curtain came down for the first intermission and I was pleased with the show so far and looking forward to the the next two segments.

After about a 20 minute intermission we settled back down into our seats for the second part of the performance. It was at this point that the dancers really ratcheted up the energy level. The next 15 or 16 minutes was a chaotic visual feast. All 12-14 dancers were on stage at the same time. Sometimes they were all moving; sometimes only 1 or 2...or 4 or 5. They were all wearing jeans or dark khakis or some other nondescript type of pants. What really caught my eye, though, were their shirts. Nothing special, just what you might see anyone wearing walking down the street. But each one was a different solid color. This use of color combined with the energetic dance movements of so many people at once looked to me like a rainbow of popping corn. It was fabulous!

After the second intermission about 9 of the dancers came out wearing oversized dark men's suits and hats. Their dancing was less frenetic than before but no less athletic or amazing. Then they all suddenly walked down the steps and off the stage. They positioned themselves at various points in the audience with one young man standing right next to me. Hmmm....thinks me. I wonder what they're doing? Next thing I know this young man held out his hand to me and beckoned me to come with him! As did the other dancers, each to a different audience member. As I put my hand in his and left my seat I heard myself thinking, Oh this might not be such a good idea. But he put his other arm around me and, oh so gracefully, escorted me up on the stage. I had no idea what to expect but it was certainly too late at this point to chicken out so I just decided to have fun with it....whatever it was! It was great! We were like interactive props. They danced around us, with us, and at us. All to the music of the Bossanova. All I could think of at that moment was the movie Born Romantic and wished I had, at some point in my life, taken Latin dance lessons. They had us up there for probably ten minutes, most of which are truthfully kind of blur to me, but I'm pretty sure I had fun. One by one, they released us to go back to our seats where we all watched the rest of the show wondering, What the hell just happened to me?

As we were leaving the theater, afterward, Barbara, Peter and I were laughing about the whole thing and Peter showed me the picture he had taken with his phone of me on stage. I asked him to email it to me. I'll add it to this post when I get it but for now suffice to say that it was a wonderful dance performance (theirs, not mine!) and my unexpected little excursion into the spotlight definitely made it an evening to remember!


Nikki said...

Isn't life just wonderful?? Let's go toast it and all of its surprises tonight at the Bad Duerkheim Stadtfest!

Sarah said...

Aaawwww -- Bad Duerkheim (she whines:-)
And, Connie -- first the Scottish Conan Guy and now a Chicagoan in Mannheim? You'll be an international star yet!