Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Nutcracker Dreams

I'm one of the last Americans without cable T.V. With digital T.V., we do get more channels, but most of them aren't ones I want to see (non-English language, non-familiar religions, and the like). Often the signal dissolves into unintelligible pixels. At least in the olden days, when the reception was snowy, the sound was often still good.

I channel surfed for a brief instant last night, just to ascertain nothing was on. But then I got to PBS, one of the best uses of my tax dollars I've ever seen; if I had to choose between public libraries and PBS, I'd choose public libraries, but most other tax-supported adventures would lose to PBS.

I digress.

Last night, my PBS station showed a version of The Nutcracker ballet performed by the San Francisco Ballet. It was riveting, which is saying something, since the music and the story are so familiar.

I first saw this ballet as a child in Montgomery, Alabama, and I'm sure it was done by some community group. Most years, my family trouped off to see the show. Even as an adult, I've occasionally found myself in the audience. But I never really felt close enough to see it, even with binoculars.

To be fair, I didn't realize I felt this way until I watched the television last night. I was transported by the detail in the costumes. The dancers mesmerized me, as they seemed to actually embody a snowflakiness or rattiness or . . . well, you can probably fill in these blanks. I wanted to leap around my own living room. For a brief instant, I thought, I'll take a class!

Well, it's probably a little late for me to return to this particular art form. I took ballet for a few years in elementary school, and then again in early adolescence. In those years of early adolescence, I wanted to be an actress on Broadway, and I thought that if I could dance, I might have increased chances.

Alas, I don't really have dancing talent. I'd probably have been better off augmenting my acting skills with voice lessons, but at the time, I was convinced I couldn't sing.

Those dancers made it all look so easy. That's their job, after all. If we're close enough to see the sweat, the effort, the tattiness of the costumes, some of the charm evaporates. Or at least, that's the case for this particular ballet.

Now it's back to my regular, non-ballet-fantasy life. Today I'll be moving offices, meeting a friend for lunch, going out for dinner with friends.

It may not revolve around ballet or Broadway, but my younger self might have fantasized about this life, had she not had stars in her eyes.

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