The Rite of Spring

The Rite of Spring

It all started with me running a handbag down to the woman who works with us at my day job every now and then. She walks with two canes, and her handbag is heavy – so one of us in the office always comes down and brings it to her before her ride picks her up.

I was on my way back into the office when my dear friend Kelie, whom I’ve known since before I had children, stopped me as she was driving out of the driveway (because she works in the same building).

“I owe you,” she said. “Let’s do something fun. I’m going to the ballet in February, you game?”

Okay, maybe she didn’t exactly say those words. But I heard “The Rite of Spring” and I was hooked. Plus, a symposium earlier in the day. We’d have a total Girl’s Day Out!

Now, you need to understand one thing to make this post make sense. Kelie is one of those people who is lovely, never says a bad word about anyone else, knows how to keep laughing, is never seen tipsy much less drunk, and has worked The Razzies for the last couple of decades (at least) and has no enemies, I swear. In other words, she’s a total enigma! So while I was getting ready on Saturday morning, the hubs was envious. “You’re spending a whole day with Kelie. That’s like going to Europe.”

And it was. I drove to her house – her directions mainly consisted of “head toward the Hollywood sign” (well, they were better than that actually) and as I drove up and up, passing tourists who were taking pictures of the sign, I felt more and more like I was going to Europe for real. I found her place, parked, and made my way down the steps to her guest cottage.

The steps down to Kelie’s guest house. Kind of scary, but also beautiful!

And from there the day just got better and better. It was wonderful to see her, even though I swear she looks the same as she did in 1985/86, though her hair is shorter today than it was. She drove us to the Music Center, which is a damned good thing as the freeway was jammed and she took us through side streets that I’d never been on before, and certainly never driven.

The Music Center concourse, downtown Los Angeles

The music center itself was magnificent. From its chandeliers to its fountains, it felt like wallowing in luxury. The Symposium was packed with information delivered by very erudite professors; they had slides, which helped. The Symposium was free, as was a lovely snackie section of fruit and cheese and crackers, soda, tea, coffee. But the most important thing is all the knowledge that was crammed into my head about the ballet we were going to see that night – The Rite of Spring, that caused such a riot in Paris in 1913, and that basically started the modern dance movement.

(This year, 2013, is the 100th anniversary of The Rite of Spring’s first performance, and the 25th anniversary of The Joffrey Ballet’s reconstruction of Nijinski’s original choreography. So seeing it on Saturday night made it doubly special.)

After the Symposium, we went to dinner at the Brasserie (because I lost the pamphlet that had given us further options) and we ate very well. Plus we got to know the ladies next to us, a mother-daughter combo who were also going to the ballet that night.

A painting of one of the costumes/dancers of The Rite of Spring

Finally, it was time for curtain. Two ballets happened prior to the Rite of Spring; these ballets brought out my inner Diva. No one really landed their double pirouettes, and footwork tended to be sloppy, but I forgave them. However, the number of double-jointed dancers astounded me. In my day, only two dancers could whack themselves in the ear with their knee as they were standing. On Saturday, it seemed like every third dancer had that ability. Annoying. It really did become annoying. Or maybe that’s just jealousy speaking.

(Which reminds me. Charlize Theron was sitting in the row in front of me, about ten seats to the left of where I was. She looked GORGEOUS – all cheekbones and sleek, very short red hair. Loved the shoes she wore, and the slim black pants and jacket. Just saying.)

By the time we got to The Rite of Spring, I was ready for something to keep me awake. And it did. Point and counterpoint, rhythm and anti-rhythm – the movements, so antithetical to “classical” ballet, were refreshing and were made so much more accessible to me by the symposium I had gone to earlier in the day. I wondered how many people were confused by what they were seeing, and I was grateful for the knowledge gained earlier.

The ballet was vibrantly colored, musically fascinating, and the dancing was mesmerizing. If I hadn’t had that previous introduction to Nijinski’s choreography and Stravinsky’s score, I would have been pretty grumpy about it. As it was, I floated on air.

Afterwards, Kelie and I headed upstairs to the retrospective…here’s a shot from there.

And of course, a shot of Kelie and I.

Christine and Kelie at the Music Center, Feb 2, 2013

I was gone all day on Saturday – missing my hubby and emails and notices from my classmates in the blogging class I’m taking with Kristen Lamb and all the tomfoolery that goes on with my Facebook friends. But I came away from that time spent with an old friend, feeling as though, indeed, I had spent the day in Europe.

I am a lucky, lucky woman.

~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~

Demon Soul, Blood Dreams and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?