Posts Tagged ‘taking kids to the ballet’

first time at the ballet: skipped death by hanging, Sinatra gets rave reviews

March 1st, 2010

“Well, there’s death by hanging—depends on how you feel about that.”

At will-call, the guy handed me my half-price tickets (thank you again, Google) and answered by question about whether “Medea,” one of the three Smuin Ballet dances, would be scary.

From third grade through college, being a dancer was a huge part of my identity. I quit before I went to grad school. This was the right decision at the time, but I’ve missed dancing ever since.

I continued to attend a lot of dance performances, though. Pre-motherhood, I used to go to dance concerts around the Bay Area all the time. I had an Oakland Ballet subscription and a partial San Francisco Ballet one. I’d even go over to Berkeley to see Mark Morris. Part of my strategy to remain sane post-motherhood involves cutting way back on anything extra, including seeing live performances.

Now that Carter is more independent, I’m starting (just starting) to get over my guilt of not being with him during awake, nonwork hours. Of course, he doesn’t care. When I saw that Smuin Ballet was performing its winter program in Mountain View this weekend. I decided to try to go, as long as I could get cheap seats. (Michael Smuin was the former artistic director of the SF Ballet and a true showman. I remember seeing his “To the Beatles,” complete with motorcycle on stage, when I was a kid.) The only snag now: I didn’t know who would go with me.

“I’ll go with you, Mommy,” Carter said when he heard that. He’s been to one kid’s play and one kid’s dance performance and had decidedly mixed success sitting still and being quiet. Needless to say, I was hesitant to take him to a real ballet performance. I got tickets on the farthest side of the front row in the balcony, so we could scoot out immediately and unobtrusively at any sign on trouble.

He was an angel.

He was just as entranced as I was with the first piece, “Soon These Two Worlds,” a contemporary ballet with colorful costumes, from resident choreographer, Amy Seiwert.

We skipped Medea and its accompanying hangings, which gave Carter first intermission + 20 minutes + second intermission outside. He mostly danced around a fountain, for an hour before we went back in to see Smuin’s “Fly Me to the Moon.” (My parents introduced us six kids to the symphony with half of a concert, followed by ice cream out. Going was a pretty big deal: one parent would take one child at a time.)

“When Sinatra sings, you naturally want to dance,” Smuin said. Apparently Carter is also a fan of Frank’s: he said he liked this ballet better than the first, which was my favorite, “because it had funner music.” He also sat still and quietly watched from lights down to lights up—happy as could be.

Maybe Carter will follow in my footsteps. He wants me to find him a dance class. If nothing else, I have a new companion as I stick my toes back into the dance world.