Tuesday, January 28, 2014

How to see The Royal Ballet's Giselle in Covent Garden (almost) LIVE - via a movie theater in Northgate for $15

Royal Opera Ballet
Covent Gardens via 
Thorton Place Cinemas/Northgate

The story of Giselle. Hands down one of my favorite ballets of all time.  The innocent village girl Giselle, who falls in love with the deceptive Albrecht - who is a young nobleman disguised as a peasant.  The ballet itself drips with the pain of heartache and the beauty of forgiveness. It was my first time experiencing not only the Royal Ballet - but the breathtaking talent and emotions of Natalia Osipova.

Partnering with the legendary Carlos Acosta - Natalia, 3 months new to the Royal Ballet - clearly stole the show.  

Her emotions we powerful and raw, coupled with technique that blew the mind of everyone in the audience, both live and in the theater I was in. Just when you think she touched the ceiling of her abilities, she would reach a new height 5 minutes later.

The event was the ROH LIVE Cinema series.  A former dance teacher of my daughters (who is a 17 yr old dancer at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School) messaged me earlier in the day asking if we were going.  Knowing nothing of the viewing or the series - I quickly did research and was delighted to find that its a monthly event, all over the country! The viewing isn't LIVE, its preempted so we could see it at a decent hour, if that makes sense - but its from the day of the show.  Such a lovely experience, with an intermission (complete with a static camera shot in the audience) and interviews with the choreographer and artistic director.  At one point even showed a candid of audience members sneaking a snack (obviously not allowed) and dropping their candy ha! Was pretty humorous! 

Back to the dancing.  As I said, I attended with my daughter who is a dancer, and ended up sitting next to another former teacher, arguably one of the most respected teachers in Seattle and a former member of the Martha Graham company, dancing with Graham herself, so the exclamations and gasps were from fellow dancers, which is how I (being a NON dancer) knew they were valid :)

Natalia Osipova is a beast.  Her ability to show strength, flawless technique while showing a level of emotion and frailty - had us all in tears and left us speechless. I often felt like her sheer will to push the limits of perfection was mesmerizing.  The strength put into some of her turns and jumps and then land them like sinking into quick sand, quietly and fluidly.  

It is clear the Royal Ballet is filled with amazing talent, but they all faded into the abyss with the Wilis it seemed, as Osipova danced circles around our hearts and our brains.  

I often have questions for my daughter when we see shows such as these - as far as what I think seemed "Amazing" to what she says actually WAS amazing - based on the art of ballet and what is more difficult to do etc.  The following variation from Act I made my daughter jump to the edge of her seat, gasp and cover her mouth with shock and awe. "Mom, what she just did there, is hard to do for anyone, and to make it look as easy and beautiful as she just did, is near impossible!" :

Not enough words can be said about Natalia's level of emotion that at times was almost palatable.  She had played this role before with the Bolshoi ballet, so the experience was there. Her seasoned experience was mixed with small pieces of her own heart that she was cutting out and leaving all over the stage there in Covent Garden. 

A huge success for Kevin O'Hare and his company and a great new event on our calendar now thanks to the Royal Opera House! 

Such a great idea and wonderful opportunity for lovers of dance - that is clearly not promoted well and or underutilized.  There were less 30 people in the theater and I could name about 20 who would have come to something like this in a heart beat.  Lets change that - because their schedule for upcoming premiers is gigantic:  I was SO excited to mark my calendar for April 28th - when they PREMIER the full length of The Winter's Tale by Christopher Wheeldon at the Live Cinema. Visit the website to see what else is coming up as well as to sign up for their text updates.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Crash Reel - Its not how many times you fall, but how many times you get back up...

The Crash Reel
Release: December 13, 2013
Director: Lucy Walker
Ever see a new Documentary on HBO before bed and think, 'oh its not too long, I am just going to watch it'? Next thing its 2am and I am lying in bed, with a tear-stained face, not able to get Kevin Pearce or his family, out of my head. I am not a Snowboarder but I am a fan of snow sports in general, grew up skiing and hanging out with people that were considered dare devils, that built and went off huge jumps, hiked into back country and even a few that dared to jump small cliffs.  Though I never did those things, I was an avid snow skier and I GET what that speed and sport does to people, the feeling you get and the need to do it over and over.  Like a part of your life vein, it becomes a part of your survival you love it so much
                                                This movie is the story of Kevin Pearce 
2010 Olympic hopeful - literally winning competitions over Shaun White and his other fellow competitors. At 17 he was the dark horse that came out of nowhere, the amazing young talent that was shocking everyone.  As him and his friends were preparing for the Olympics, they took video of their training process, and you see tons of the video footage in this movie. 
 Which is why they were able to catch his tragic boarding crash on December 31st, 2009 - that injured his brain - on camera. This documentary follows the sport and how the bar is consistently raised in difficulty and the risk that is involved in a sport that creates such a shock value in the media - which honestly, was the part of the movie that I expected...

What I didn't expect, was to fall in love with the Pearce family as a whole, the way I did.  Kevin's amazing parents, Simon and Pia - were just what we all hope to become as parents.  The grace in which they handled this event that rocked their foundation...lovingly, at his side every second.  They are glue that holds the Pearce family together, with an amazing combination of unconditional love, support, spirituality and kind realism. 
  Who truly reached in and touched my heart were his brothers, David, Andrew and Adam, who made me weep with their tireless worry and support for their brother. David, who has Down Syndrome, spoke with SUCH maturity and wisdom when he would speak about both his disability and his sadness about his brothers injury.  Adam was in almost every hospital scene you saw, by his side in the recovery process.  At one point in the movie there is a family meeting about the fact that Kevin wanted nothing more than to get back on his snowboard and compete again.  The agony and pain on the family members faces and the tears and words that they use to express their feelings to him, is truly heart wrenching.  I found the way they juggled kindness and patience with sharing their pain and worry for Kevin, both inspiring and astounding.
The movie was released last month and is on HBO right now. Even if you aren't a fan of snowboarding, its really not about that - its about the human spirit and the struggle between knowing what is safe and respecting our family and our need to do what inspires us and what takes our souls to that place that no words can understand. 
RATING: ***** 5 stars. SEE THIS MOVIE