Fun Timez at The Music Center

The Adult Beginner has been to see ballet at the Music Center a few times now,
Bright Stream, some Millepied, the Scottish Ballet, and I don’t know if I just never noticed before or if this is a new thing for the Music Center, but they had all these neat things set up for the audience to see and play with before the show, and I thought it was really cool that they, like, built up an event around Giselle.
Let’s see if I can remember all the things:
There was a craft table out in the courtyard before the show for the kids to make ballerinas. The Adult Beginner did not get in on that action, but did enjoy seeing all the glittery pompom-covered ballerinas-on-sticks being waved around in the theater.
You could also stand in a long long line after the Saturday matinee to get your photo with a real live dancer in costume. Lots of kids in line for that.
Speaking of kids at the ballet, before seeing Giselle the second time I was talking to my sister and was like, “wouldn’t this be a little scary for kids?” And she was like, “wouldn’t this be a little Boring for kids?!” And then, as if hell-bent on proving her right, the kids who sat behind us spent the whole second act either pretending to be pigs or straight up snoring, not sure which, and at the end of the ballet when I got up to leave my coat sleeve was soaked with what I Hope was spilled water.
But anyway, back to the fun things:
I was Totally Excited to take a million pictures in a million hilarious poses with the life-sized cardboard cut-out of Giselle that the Music Center’s website promised, because that is the most hilarious and non-balletical ballet-promo ever,
so dude, Gentle Reader, perhaps you can imagine my HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT when my friends and I got there and discovered the, like, quarter-scale Giselle.
So Not As Hilarious!!!!
We took a couple goofy pictures with Tiny Giselle anyway, and decided we should probably submit one to the Music Center so they could put it on their website with a caption reading, “Worried you’ll be the dorkiest person at the ballet? Well don’t worry! ‘Cause these girls are here!!!”
Just, you know, as a public service.
I was lamenting Tiny Giselle on the twitters later, and @zebra_ballerina suggested that if they weren’t going to go with life sized they could’ve at least done Larger Than Life, which is so brilliant, and would’ve been so hilarious, and I would’ve been Thrilled, and then that made me think they could’ve also had a cardboard cut-out of Albrecht, for the ladies to either punch in the face or shield with love, and then I thought they could have a life-sized wall of Wilis, and then I thought maybe I was getting carried away with the card board cut outs since it’s not actually Giselle, The Cardboard Cut-Out Show.
There was a table with pointe shoes you could touch, and ribbons and lambs wool and different kinds of foot padding, and a display of pointe shoes cut in half so you could see and feel the difference between the Bloch and the Gaynor Minden. Which was fun because I got to feel all Insider Informed and tell my friends about how GM’s are super controversial because they don’t hurt.
(Yeah I totally know that’s way oversimplification of the GM issue and maybe a little flame-baity, but it made a better story there in the moment, walking through the Music Center lobby toward the green carpeted staircase, than trying to explain about feeling the floor and how that’s different from pain.)
During intermission there was a demonstration on ballet mime, where the demonstrator led a few kids and some grown up ladies through the signs for love, dancing, and put a ring on it.
An hour before the ballet there was an audience talk with Ethan Stiefel, who is of course the artistic director of the Royal New Zealand ballet.
I am super glad we made it in time to sit and listen, not least of all because since we saw him speak before the show, my friend totally knew who he was when he sat down beside us at the back of the house right before the ballet started.
So we both spent part of the first act trying to think of clever things to say to him during intermission and feeling bad about rustling our programs, except that he had apparently chosen the squeakiest chair in the entire theater, and then he left right at the end of the first act before the lights went up so he never got to find out how hilarious and charming we are.
Actually not we, just my friend. I had nothing. I would’ve just grinned like an idiot and said something awesome like, “heh. You were in a movie. Heh heh”. So it’s a good thing he left.
Then after the show there was a sign in the lobby reminding people that they could go up to the second floor bar for a sweet treat. My sister and I went to check it out after the Sunday matinee, and might’ve stayed, but by then it was 4:30 on a winter afternoon and getting darkish and we decided best to get the train. But on a summery afternoon, when it’s too hot to be outside, it would be really excellent to curl up in one of those soft chairs and have an iced coffee and a lemon bar and talk ballet.
So yay Music Center!

About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
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10 Responses to Fun Timez at The Music Center

  1. Jane Lambert says:

    I was a subscriber to the Music Centre when I was at UCLA between 1972 and 1972 and saw some wonderful shows there. There was some ballet but nothing like as much as I had enjoyed in London. However the quality of the performances that I saw at the Music Centre and the other venues was very high.

    I am glad that you have seen Scottish Ballet. That was the first company that I got to know well when I was an undergraduate at St Andrews. I wrote a little article about my connection with it just before Christmas at and I also reviewed Christopher Hampson’s Hansel & Gretel at

    I loved my stay in Los Angeles and I regard it as my third home. I hope to visit it again very soon,

  2. RO says:

    Have you seen The Secret Life of Ballet Dancers? It’s a show about the Royal New Zealand Ballet and it tunes in around the moment Ethan Stiefel comes into the RNZB as the new artistic director. It’s a very nice series!
    Seems like you had a very nice time, too bad about the less than life size ballerina though…

  3. Zebra says:

    More ballets should include Comedy Funtimez for audience members beforehand/during interval. Beyond those some of us make for ourselves, I mean *shifty eyes*

    However, am not so keen on people taking kids if they’re not going to behave well. I could be taken to Shakespeare at age four (comedies only, obvs) so my parents took me. My sister couldn’t have, so she wasn’t. Even at that age it was highly amusing to watch the reactions of those sitting near us work along from “A child?! At Shakespeare!? What can the parents be thinking, how dare they, the performance is going to be spoiled…” etc etc blah through cautious optimism about me perhaps not being as disruptive as they’d assumed I would be to utter bewilderment at my perfect theatre manners to delight at how nicely behaved I was to being a touch freaked out (in some cases envious) that my parents had somehow created a smallperson who was super!well-behaved & not only interested in Shakespeare but fully engaging with it. Beyond (during the interval) explaining to my parents, at some length, how INCREDIBLY wrong the director was about what fairies look like, I mean…

    Ooooh, careful with your Gaynor comments there: you could be setting yourself up for a Pointeshoes At Dawn duel-scenario. Am thinking to try Gaynors out – I currently have Capulet D3O’s, which work on a similar principle, but also cannot be beaten into submission on the demi-pointe front, I guess if I had monkey toes I’d be okay, but, um, I don’t…

  4. Carla Escoda says:

    Do not think Giselle an appropriate ballet for kids – too violent, esp. scene where bridezillas torture Hilarion, and how do you explain why Giselle is suddenly acting so bizarre and scary? Of course some companies tone down the scariness factor, which then is disappointing. But if you are going to bring little ones to the theatre, you should plan ahead and COME PREPARED: get aisle seats, or front row in whatever section, and bring a bag of “silent toys”. I would bring playdoh and fat crayons w/ little sketch pads, and told them they could draw in the dark then we’d have a contest after the ballet to see whose drawings looked most like what was going on onstage. Even the best kids however are bound to be a little fidgety and talky, however, and audiences should be more tolerant. In Shakespeare’s day people were eating and chatting and wandering around and occasionally throwing things at the players; today the notion of ‘civility’ has evolved to where we’re expected to sit like stone for two hours straight. Far more reasonable to be allowed to show some pleasure (or displeasure) at what we’re watching, and to ask questions out loud if what is going on onstage is incomprehensible. Anyway, far worse than kids-being-kids are those adults who dash out of the theatre as soon as the final curtain comes down, as if they’re all obstetricians who just got paged to deliver a baby when really they just want to get out of the parking garage first. Consummate rudeness to the artists and fellow audience members.

    • The snorting and the fidgets and the questions were ok –
      kind of funny even, after all, I had chosen to go to a matinee and that’s where the kids are and the children are our future and all that-
      right up until I had to wring out my coat sleeve and then put the damned thing on anyway and wear someone else’s refreshing beverage home.
      I like the drawing in the dark idea, sounds like fun for all ages.

      • Carla Escoda says:

        That’s one remarkably distracted parent who doesn’t notice that his/her kid is pouring juice all over someone’s coat!!! Draw what you see is a favorite child-diverting tactic of mine, I used it often when taking kids to museums – turned it into a “treasure hunt” where they had to search for paintings or sculptures that had certain features and then copy down some other feature in the artwork. Only got into trouble once, when my 6 year old set off all the alarms at a museum in Singapore that was showing a touring exhibit of modern masters. She found herself surrounded by a platoon of uniformed guards after she reached out to touch a Picasso (“man with blue guitar,” if I recall correctly). In her defense she said she was only checking to see if the paint was still wet.

  5. jenerators says:

    In the September school holidays I’ll be taking my then 6 year old niece to see the Australian Ballet’s “Once upon a time” which is described as a narrated, short version of (this year) The Nutcracker. It only goes for an hour and is aimed at littlies who might not be able to sit through a whole performance.

  6. Jecca says:

    Although I started ballet classes at age 4, Giselle was the first ballet I ever saw, which was when I was 7. I recall being mesmerized by the story and by the dancing. I also loved the ballet mime, which I explanations of in the program. My parents were pretty strict, and I was used to sitting still and being quiet while my dad read to me and my brother, so that may have helped with having good theater manners. I also was on a steady diet of classic fantasy (Tolkien, Lewis Carroll, C. S. Lewis, Kipling), so maybe the Giselle story wasn’t as big a leap? Looking back, I do think it was pretty twisted for a kid’s introduction to story ballet, though!

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