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Live Active Cultures

Ballet leaps onto the big screen at Enzian

I wish Hill had stuck around for more commentary, but we did get some insightful anecdotes on video during the intermission from Nikolay Tsiskaridze, who danced the evil genius Rothbart. The Bolshoi’s production was based on a 1969 version choreographed by Yuri Grigorovich (after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov’s 1895 version and Alexander Gorsky’s 1913 revival) during the Soviet era. A censor made them remove the swan’s death at the story’s end to avoid any hint of sadness in their workers’ paradise; the proper tragic endingwasn’t restored until the show was restaged in 2001.

The ballet itself was pretty much the quintessential classical Swan Lake, assuming you like that sort of thing. As I’m relatively unschooled in the finer details of ballet tradition, I find myself constantly entertained by the oddities in the art form. Why do they bow at the end of every big scene? Why do the plots always revolve around rich people at a party watching vaguely ethnic people dance? Why is waterfowl bestiality considered romantic?

I have no answers, but I did discover that ballet goes down much better with a bite of chicken-and-bacon sandwich and a bowl of tomato soup. The audience for ballet in Orlando is definitely alive – most of the good tables were taken by the time I arrived – but I’m not sure it’s well; I was the youngest person in the room by at least a decade. Whatever your age, if you love classical dance, don’t miss the rest of this series. And if you love someone who loves it, take advantage of Enzian’s beer selection and nap-perfect comfy seats.

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