Friday, 24 February 2017

A Night At The Ballet

When I was 18 my friends and I had a group chat that we called the Culture Vultures. It was created to organise a trip to see the Chagall exhibition at the Tate Liverpool but slowly descended into the usually nonsense where we would send each other pictures of goats due to their prevalence in the artist's work. Not much has changed since then. I mean fewer goat pictures. Nevertheless, I'm still trying to be as cultured as I possibly can. Considering where I live I have the ability to see as much as I possibly can. This brings me onto the main topic of this Friday blogpost. In an effort to step out of my comfort zone a  little bit more I went to see a modern ballet at Palais Garnier. The trip was organised by the wonderful ULIP Art Soc (again thanks for letting this old bird back into the fold). 
I don't know much about ballet. So I wasn't sure what to expect. More than anything I wanted to go inside the building that I had walked past so many times wondering if I would ever get the chance to go in and explore. Fortunately, it didn't disappoint. I thought that going to such a prestigious venue would mean that I would look out of place in my jeans and my trainers that are so suited to hipster office life but less so for an upscale evening. I couldn't have been more wrong. There was no one in fancy gowns or dinner jackets. No sneering looks or tutting as I walking through the throng of people trying to find their seats. It felt very libertarian. Everyone sat down for an evening of good-value entertainment that gave you something to think about on your metro ride home. As I watched no only the dancers but my fellow spectators as the light bounced around the historical venue I watched the faces of the people sitting enthralled in the dancing. Their faces completely relaxed showing every emotion going through their minds. I think it's in the cult film that is often quoted by French students, Amélie, that she pontificates on how she likes to see peoples faces agawp as they watch a film in the cinema. I couldn't help but feel the same delight. 
How was my experience at the ballet? Good. Would I go again? Most definitely. I liked how I felt on the same level as my fellow human beings. At school, I remember being taught about high and low culture. That ballet and opera were somehow viewed as better forms of entertainment than sensationalist paperbacks or blockbuster films. I feel like last night it was the exact opposite. I was sat there in the clothes I had worked in amongst people who had done exactly the same as me who just wanted a bit of escapism on their Thursday night. 
I'm not entirely sure whether this post has a clear narrative or not. It probably doesn't. But then again neither did the ballet! Bon weekend à tous! 

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