Should’ve made that a Double latté.

So, Monday morning, roll up in to work, boss asks, “do anything fun this weekend?”
And I’m like, “yeah! Totally went to see the Scottish Ballet!”
Boss says, “Neat, what’d they dance?”
I’m all, “um, it was two contemporary pieces?”
And he’s like, “Huh. You fall asleep?”
And I was like, “Yes!!! How did you- Omygawd I feel so bad!!!! It was so beautiful! But, I just- omygawd what is wrong with me?!!!”
And he’s like, “Girl, please. When I lived in New York I’d go see the New York City Ballet and fall asleep. Most gorgeous ballet in the whole world, didn’t matter. If it’s just beautiful shapes with no story to follow, I’mma be out.”

Gentle Reader, I seriously seriously for reals considered not telling you about the falling asleep part. But if I can’t be honest on this blog, under my nom de poulet, where’m I ever gonna be honest.
Stupid thing is, I really enjoyed it! Right up until the 5th song of Song of the Earth totally did me in.

Ok so here’s what I did see:
First up, first half of Kings 2 Ends. Modern music. Began with a long stretch of silence, which, you know, really means the dance is set to a soundtrack of audience coughing. Seriously. Why do people always come down with tuberculosis during these quiet moments?
What I loved best about this piece was the women’s costumes. Yumiko.
Fucking Gorgeous.
Bare feet and legs, black leotards with deep plunging décolletage and illusion neckline and sheer lingerie-ish overlapping panels along the obliques, hair in a high bun showcasing these tiaras just wow. Just wow. The ladies were so strong and modern and fiercesome, it was just- how many times can I say gorgeous before WordPress shuts me down?
Men’s costumes, on the other hand, were a long-pants version of the ladies, minus the tiara, and, you know, I just feel like I could’ve gone my entire life perfectly content without using the words Deep Plunging Décolletage, Illusion Neckline, Sheer, or Lingerie-ish to describe anything a man wears.
I mean, like, you wanna show skin, what’s wrong with shirtless?
The Adult Beginner could get on board with shirtless.
Costumes aside, really like seeing the stage filled with men. Like, it seems The Scottish Ballet has a lot of men, and they’re just as important as the ladies, and I really liked that, although anytime a female dancer moved across the stage my mind was just blown all over again at How Gorgeous.
Kept trying to find a narrative.
Or an overall feeling.
Yeah, no.
Next up, second half of Kings 2 Ends. Ladies have taken off their tiaras and put on- if it’s even possible- Even More Gorgeous short red chiffon dresses with corsets and flippy bubble hems. And the men have red chiffon button-down shirts, so I’m less distracted by their deep-V unitards.
The music is Motzart and the tone is humorous? I think?
The women are doing a lot of this sort of staccato traveling around the men, and I keep trying to read a narrative into it, like, oh, this is about how busy and bustling women are nowadays? They never slow down? And the men are left to the wayside, watching and hoping to catch their attention?
But then the next shapes wouldn’t back up that idea, so I’d try for a new idea, and then another one…
Lol-ed at one point, dude did a really funny lift by just bending down, poking his head between girl’s legs, and then stood up so she was, like, lifted by the back of his neck. It was totally hilarious, Gentle Reader! Only heard a few other titters from the audience though, so then I was like, ‘oh noes, that was not meant to be funny, how gauche of me.’
Then there was a very long intermission with lots of tape-getting-ripped-up noise from behind the curtain, flooring getting removed or something, and then Song of the Earth!
Where I was like, finally! The men look fantastic! Snug black t-shirts and light colored tights, gawd, how hard is that?! Tights were at their natural waist, which looks high waisted on a modern guy, which gave the whole look a kind of athletic vintage feel. Loved it.
And the ladies in these beautiful simple tunics were so silent en pointe! Amazing. No hard knocking. Was telling a friend about it later, a friend who is very familiar with the Dance Center at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and she was like, “really?! That’s amazing. That floor is designed to project sound!”
This piece was set to Mahler, which involved some operatic singing in German, and I think I just wore myself out so much trying to understand how the music related to the movement, and what the dance was trying to say, and who the characters were that my brain just finally shut down and next thing I knew the curtain was coming down and my eyelids were flying up and I was struck with the horror of what I had just done.
Fell asleep at the ballet.
This was my first contemporary, non-full-length non-story-ballet viewing experience, so I’m assuming that more sophisticated viewers, (which is just about every one else, man woman child or puppy-dog, on the entire planet at this point) should go see it and let me know if the women were fierce, if the men were strong, if you loved the costumes, if I missed the best part, if there was a theme I missed, all that, I’m super curious.


About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
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21 Responses to Should’ve made that a Double latté.

  1. PBG says:

    I have the same problem with non-story ballets. I mean, I appreciate the artistry, and I’ll acknowledge all day long that Wayne McGregor (for instance) is really good at using the dancers’ bodies in ways that you wouldn’t normally see in classical stuff, but I get sleepy.

    I’m sure it’s supposed to be about modern life or the emotions of a rainstorm or something, but half the time I think it looks like they have a muscle cramp or five.

    • One of the nice things about being a student, back back back in the day, was free admission to all on-campus performances. So I watched a lot of modern dance, and was always amazed at how much story the dancers could evoke with no words, no scenery, and barely any costume. I mean really, how did they do that?!
      Which is why I kept fighting so hard to find meaning, I was like, “I know it’s here! I can find it! Keep looking, brain!”
      Oh well, next time I’ll just relax and enjoy the emotions of a rainstorm.

  2. chrisgo says:

    What, no puffy shirts on the guys? Who do these Scottish dancers think they are?
    Don’t feel bad, I fall asleep at nearly anything in a theater, except a Metallica show. My friends have standing orders to elbow me in the ribs if I nod off or start snoring.
    That said Ballet Companion are off to see the new Tom Sawyer ballet at Big City Fancy Pants Performing Hall tonight.

  3. Janet says:

    I admit it, I fall asleep at the Ballet. Nice seat, dark, good music, no plot, good dancing, and I am out. Decided that I needed to change my work schedule so I could stay awake. Still sleep at times. Usually on repertory nights. Full length ballets usually keep me awake.

    My Mom (almost 95 now), does not sleep at the ballet. She also likes some of the contemporary stuff that I find endlessly repetitive.

    If you ever see Elo’s “Double Evil” you will not fall asleep. The lighting changes dramatically more than once, and the music will jolt you awake. McGregor’s “Chroma” is another example of ballet that keeps you awake.

    Hope you get to see more live ballet soon.

  4. Delaland says:

    It actually sounds gentle and magical to fall asleep to something beautiful. One could come up with music inspired by such an idea. Unless if you snore during the whole performance. That would be wrong.

    • Was recently at some performance…theater? Maybe? All I remember is someone, somewhere in the audience was just quietly snoring away, and it was so hilarious, I had such a bad case of the must-giggle-but-mustn’t-make-noises.

  5. Lisa says:

    I had to go tho thier website and check it out. They had some pretty good pictures. I loved the red outfits (though there were no pictures of the black ones).

  6. Anna - fromVIEtoCPH says:

    Motzart? poor Wolfgang Amadeus is turning over in his grave ;)

    I went to see the Royal Danish Ballet twice since I’ve been in Copenhagen; the first performances were Enetimen og Sylfiden (The Lesson, by Flemming Flindt, and La Sylphide by August Bournonville.. see the trailer here: and the second time I went it was an evening of Danish ballet called ‘Virtuosi Steps’ with a new ballet they called Bournonville Fantasy (“(…) a modern interpretation by Thomas Lund and Nicholas Hübbe, highlights the world-famous Bournonville Schools that are still part of ballet training in Denmark..”), then Donizetti Variations (George Balanchine) and Etudes (Harald Lander) as the third and last part. (Trailer:
    Although the Virtuosi Steps didn’t have a story behind them I found that ballet evening much more catching and interesting than The Lesson and La Sylphide. The costumes were amazing, held in black/white and shades of grey and they worked with a lot of light effects. I mean I wasn’t that much into Bournonville Fantasy, it was just too vague and also the male solo dancer’s movements seemed so imprecise, but it was only half an hour or so, I was pretty relieved when it was over. I loved the Donizetti variations – the costumes were kind of inspired by Italian renaissance I think, and the dancers were so strong and precise; at the end the music just got faster and faster and I was sitting there in awe, not being able to believe that someone could do pirouettes at that speed… (if you want to see the costumes, go to and scroll down to the gallery; images 1-6 are from the Bournonville Fantasy, 7-11 from Donizetti Variations and the rest from Etudes)
    Etudes was just amazing. They started off at three barres on an almost dark stage – only the feet of the dancers at the barre to the left and right were illuminated and the barre in the centre-back was lit from the back so we could see the dancers’ silhouettes; a group of 3 or 4 ballerinas starting the movement at the same time and the next group starting 8 beats later – in the end it looked like a crazy clockwork, some ballerinas doing ronde de jambe en l’air while others were doing battement en frappé and another group doing cambré… I was following Etudes with all my attention (except from when the lady sitting next to me – apart from taking half of my seat – started looking at her watch every 5 minutes and making weird noises with her teeth that obviously were dentures that she didn’t really feel comfortable with) and was just amazed by the dancers’ virtuosity; sometimes there were like 30 dancers or more on stage, sometimes just the soloists/principal dancers and I couldn’t get over Alban Lendorf’s jumps that seemed so airy but powerful at the same time (I really like how he’s a bit shorter than the other dancers and how his legs are really strong, just pure muscles, and not just skin and bones with the muscles sticking out like in some of the other dancers’ anorexic legs)..
    It was the evening of Virtuosi Steps and the dancers got standing ovations for their performance, the curtain went up four or five times I think. Well, what can I say – I found it amazing.
    There’s an older version (2005) of Etudes on youtube, the Danish television channel DR1 showed it and somebody recorded almost the whole thing (sadly the beginning is missing) and put it online:) enjoy!

  7. Kirsteen says:

    I went to see this show in Edinburgh in August and I found a lot of humour in the movements and I chortled a lot. So I think we might be in the right and everyone else is trying to be poised because, you know, it’s the ballet and it’s SERIOUS. When I went to see it someone’s phone went off right at the beginning, during that first dancing to silence bit, and I was thinking ‘oh no how embarrassing’ but then the person GOT UP and walked out of the theatre to answer it with it STILL RINGING!!! Can you believe it?

    • What???!!!!
      No, not cool, phone-guy.
      That either means the person doesn’t know how to use the phone, in which case: dumb ass,
      Or doesn’t care. In which case: Big Jerky dumb ass.

  8. Kaija says:

    I fully admit to having fallen asleep at the ballet, the theatre, concerts, the movies…anywhere it gets really dark later in the evening with music playing, I think. I’m a morning person who gets up by 5:30 and am very active and busy at work and in my recreation (hello almost daily ballet class!), so by evening, I’m pretty wiped out and ready to relax. :) And I really like sleep.

    I usually find abstract dance performances to be a roll of the dice as to whether they captivate me or wear me out trying to find the meaning, as you aptly described. Not every show reaches out and grabs you emotionally or spins a mood. When I start making my grocery list in my head, I know it’s just not for me!

    Those Yumiko outfits sound fabulous though…I’d love to see those :)

    • Yeah, really fab. And I got to nerd out before the show, like, pointing out her name in the program to Mr. Adult Beginner and being all, “ooh, look! Yumiko! Dancers Love her stuff!”

  9. Nic says:

    So happy you went to see Scottish Ballet (who are my ‘local’ ballet company). I laughed all the way through ‘Kings2Ends’, and kept getting weird looks from the people around me. But I’m absolutely sure that it was meant to be funny – or maybe we go for the more sophisticated ‘witty’? The lady from the SB education department opted for ‘quirky’, and she presumably knows. Here in Glasgow it was paired with ‘Pennies from Heaven’ – an Ashley Page ballet to 20’s/30’s music with amazing period costumes – also very funny and would have definitely kept you awake. I always fall asleep to Schubert symphonies – especially if the acoustic is a bit ‘swallowing’, and you can’t hear the structure … not at a ballet, yet, but it does induce this weird hallucinogenic like state, that must be quite close to a waking dream.

  10. Yes it was meant to be funny! So don’t feel bad about chortling. When it showed here the outfits were much starker – just plain black for men and women (I think).
    It was essentially designed, the ballet itself, to show the altheticism of the dancers. The mix of Steve Reich and Mozart brought together the mix of traditional and contemporary styles that Scottish Ballet is all about.

  11. hiccup42 says:

    I totally loved both of these when I saw them at home in Edinburgh. Although I also struggled with storylines, but that’s because I should have read the programme! I did manage not to fall asleep though, I was very proud of myself – I nearly did at one point but prodded myself awake again.

  12. Pingback: Fun Timez at The Music Center | Adult Beginner

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