We spent the evening at the Ballet this past weekend, which is always such a special occasion! The performance was La Bayadére – one of the most scenic of all the classical ballets and one of my absolute favourites!
La Bayadére is a story of forbidden love, as are most classical Ballets from that particular era. There are usually two girls who fall in love with one boy, which ironically seems to be a kind of Hollywood narrative. Sometimes the girl gets the guy, but in the case of La Bayadére… she dies a tragic death.
This sounds terribly sad, I know…but what happens in the afterlife is what has made La Bayadére one of the most iconic ballets of all time. Let me take a step back.
La Bayadére is set in India, which lends the production to the mix of sumptuous golds, fuchsias, teals and reds of make-shift saris and pretty three quarter ballet dresses. Many of the scenes take place in and around the royal palace, which makes for spectacular scenery! The Golden man, as he is affectionately called by the dancers, refers to the ancient traditions of India
Ballet dancers are the ultimate combination of artistry and athleticism and in this case, the Golden man or more accurately the Sun God was the crowning glory. I kept hoping he would make another appearance and kept thinking to myself that any guy in this audience who was dragged to the ballet by a girlfriend or wife or mother, will leave with a new respect for male ballet dancers and will make sure he is in the gym bright and early the next day. If he has a son…he will more than likely sign him up for ballet class, no problem:)
There are magnificent scenes of visual splendour and fairytale romance. There are also scenes of family drama and soap opera tragedy
Dancers from South Africa and Cuba acted these parts with heart-wrenching intensity while showcasing incredible ballet technique. In spite of the intensity and physical exertion, you hardly see them break a sweat, which I always find astounding.
After the tragic death of the heroine (beautifully performed by Burnise Silvius), we find ourselves in the breathtaking world of The Kingdom of the shades. This is surely one of the most beautiful and iconic moments in all Ballet history. Rows of frosted white tutus float down towards the audience, swallowing them into this fantastical world, where Nikiya and Solor are eventually united in eternal love.
As an audience member, you will be moved by the splendour and romance and fantasy of La Bayadére. It is the kind of ballet that even the most uneducated of patrons will enjoy and in this instance, I am talking about the guy who thought that tekkies shorts and a T-shirt would be appropriate attire to wear to the Ballet. I am certain that next time he will be buying the tickets because he will have been exposed to something extraordinary that will have changed his life forever. The Ballet does that to a person.
Take all your friends and family to see this beautiful ballet. It will allow you to escape from the real world and be carried away, even if it is only for an hour or two! Tickets are available at www.joburgtheatre.com