Posted by: eramys | December 15, 2011


  I saw the Nutcracker ballet last night, performed by the Russian State Ballet of Siberia, which was amazing. Beautiful dancing, a live orchestra, gorgeous costumes and sets, and very festive as it’s set at Christmas. It was a quite traditional version, so there were lots of dancers in pretty tutus. The Nutcracker Prince had glittery gems in his hair and quite a lot of the costumes had sequins and glitter on.

  Our seats, being the VIP disabled ones (not really VIP but you do get close to the front for a reduced rate!) were only 3 rows from the stage. It was great to be able to see the dancing so close. Usually when you go to a ballet it’s difficult to see the dancers feet unless you’re very close to the stage. I was surprised how quiet the dancers were most of the time, even the men doing their huge leaps across the stage – you’d think 12 (or whatever it is) stones of man landing on the stage would be accompanied by a huge thump!

  Talking of male dancers, I wondered at what point it became acceptable for a man to dance wearing a pair of tights, which… ahem… cling in certain areas. Apparently it only became commonplace fairly recently, maybe in the 60’s, although some men wore them before that and shocked their audiences. Male ballet dancers have to wear a ‘dance belt’ because apparently some dance moves can injure their ‘parts’. I won’t go into details here but if you’re interested look it up on Wikipedia. It’s quite a funny little article and is accompanied by a picture of a man wearing said belt. I only looked out of curiosity (and it is quite interesting if you enjoy the ballet) but now I’ll never be able to look at a male dancer in the same way again!  

  I was also interested to find out how female dancers manage to dance ‘en pointe’, that is, on the tips of their toes. To us normal mortals it sounds excruciating, and indeed it is to the dancers when they first being to learn, but their muscles quickly strengthen to support them and they develop calluses on their feet and toes which apparently help to cushion the feet. Their point shoes are moulded to their feet and they use all kinds of strapping, gels etc to protect their toes, but injuries such as toenails falling off are still very common.

  We’re used to seeing the pretty, stage side of the dancing, but I think it’s fascinating to know something of what goes on backstage.

  The ballet company are returning in February with three different ballets on consecutive days. I’d love to go to all three but will probably only be well enough to manage one. Even so, I’m looking forward to it.





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