Oh help, how depressing. When I was young my stepfather would always say to me; “You’ll wish you listened to me, I am older and wiser than you and I know better.” Of course I didn’t listen to him, I found listening to anyone extremely tedious and, anyway, how come he knew so much?
Who was it who said I started out thinking my parents knew nothing, by the time I was twenty I was amazed at how much they had learnt?
Anyway, the night before last there was a storm and Bea couldn’t sleep. “Go to sleep Bea, we’re going to the ballet tomorrow night, you’ll be tired.” Still she fiddled about until the early hours. Yesterday afternoon I told her to have a sleep. “You’ll sleep through the ballet tonight,” I warned her. “Have a sleep.” No way. In the car on the way to Montpellier I tried again. “I’m not tired,” said a by-now-extremely-tired Bea. “I don’t want to sleep.”
We went to see Coppelia, performed by the National Ballet of Kazan. The what? I hear you ask. Well, apparently it’s part of the National Opera of Tartarstan, in the Volga region. Wherever they came from, they were excellent. They danced as only Russian ballet dancers can dance, with 100% precision and constant smiles. The chorus was perfectly synchronised, the prima ballerina impeccable. The male lead had buttocks that made you want to weep with a mixture of lust and envy.
“I love it,” said Bea, during the interval, glowing and grinning from ear to ear. “I’m going to dream about it.” And indeed she did. She dreamt about it all the way through the third act which has a pas de deux I would travel to Tartarstan to see.
Tempted as I am to say “I told you so” I remember how bloody annoying that was when my stepfather did it, so I won’t. I might just buy her a DVD of the ballet for Christmas and watch the third act with her.
All four girls (Bea, Manon, Olivia and Estelle) were great. An English couple behind us said their hearts sank when they saw that they were behind four children. “But they were less trouble than our neighbours,” they told us on leaving. “The girls were all transfixed.” Apart from Bea of course, who was asleep.
Even if she missed the final act I am thrilled. I have always loved ballet and I was really hoping my girls would too. It is one of those things that when done well leaves you with a warm glow for days afterwards and an inexplicable desire to jump around wearing a tutu. Which I think is a good thing. When I once did this with my friend Louise in her aunt’s garden we were told “it’s so much better to live out your fantasies.” I couldn’t agree more.
Having my two happy little girls sitting with me watching ballet dancers all the way from Russia is something I have fantasised about for years. Even if the little one did miss one of the best bits.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2007