Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Assorted Thoughts: D.C. United Preseason and American Ballet Theater's "Sleeping Beauty" at the Kennedy Center 1/28/2016

American Ballet Theater's "Sleeping Beauty" at the Kennedy Center

Anybody who follows me on Twitter was treated to a classic Filmi Girl rant the evening of the 28th. I went to see the American Ballet Company's production of Sleeping Beauty and the Kennedy Center and was utterly horrified and frustrated by the behavior of the audience. It was enough to put me off attending anything at the Kennedy Center for a few months. (I can only hope I'll have recovered in time for the staging of Wagner's Ring Cycle.) Does sitting in the second balcony instead of sitting on the orchestra level change the behavior of the audience? Is it that the stage from the second balcony appears more like a television screen, boxed in and far off, so we feel free to act as if we are at home in front of the television? Or does the cheaper price simply encourage cheaper behavior? Either way, I was treated to a running commentary from a mother and daughter sitting behind me, gossiping about the dancers on stage. And when I asked them to keep it down, they looked at me as if I was the one with poor manners! It reminded me of the time I went to see Black Swan and had a couple on a date sitting behind me, the male half of which was unnecessarily "explaining" everything to his girlfriend, to include--and I'll never forget this--saying, "She's free." at the very end when Natalie Portman collapses. Thanks, bro. Thanks for "explaining" that to me.

The frustration at the constant whispering about so-and-so being nice and so-and-so being "only 17" took me out of that zen audience mindspace and kept me pinned to my uncomfortable seat. It made the moldy smell of my neighbor's coat that much more unbearable, the occasional mucusy cough that much more annoying, tolerating the fidgety 7 year old beside me became next to impossible.

Is it myopic selfishness, people prioritizing their own enjoyment over everybody else's, or a fundamental misunderstanding of how to be in an audience that isn't in front of their own television screens? Is the overture and entr'acte simply background garbage noise? Is it so wrong to want to listen to Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty score rather than treating it as a score to inane chatter? You can talk anywhere, I can only listen to a live orchestra playing Tchaikovsky here.

As for the ballet itself, I did enjoy what I could focus on. The view from above is provides a different perspective from sitting on the orchestra level. In some ways, it's preferable to be up high and see the large bits of choreography as a whole but I think I prefer sitting closer to the stage and seeing the faces of the dancers.

The American Ballet Theater's production was almost the complete opposite of the modern, fresh A Winter's Tale I had seen the week before. The choreography, from Marius Petipa, dates to the late 19th century and the ballet, while beautiful, felt very much like it was preserved in amber. I have to admit, I was more charmed by the costumes than many of the dancers, but there a few stand-outs. Hee Seo as the Sleeping Beauty herself was wonderful to watch. And I enjoyed Catherine Hurlin as the saucy white cat in the ending number.

D.C. United Preseason 2016

Dear readers, prepare yourselves because it's about to get soccer-ific up in here. D.C. United is currently in the midst of pre-season and created this delightful video for me. I don't know if my favorite part is Rolfe's resigned face at having to be in the fan with the "kids", the Boz being the Boz, or Dykstra's extremely dorky Jeff Goldblum impression.

I don't know what 2016 will bring for the team but it will bring lots of dumb blog posts from me because I am a season ticket holder this year (!!) and am going to throw myself into being a fan 100%. It has been such an invigorating experience to just throw myself into this odd corner of fandom. Learning the rules, learning the storylines, learning which self-important fans to avoid... the one thing it's been hard to remember is just how small the fanbase really is. Tweeting at an MLS player is very different from tweeting a big-name Bollywood actor. My tweet will probably get read! Horrifying! Best control your enthusiasm, Filmi Girl.

I am determined to enjoy myself and learn everything there is to know. I'm also hoping to be able to do some interviews with long time fans because I'm genuinely interested in how this all works.

One thing you might not know, dear readers, is that I (me, Filmi Girl) was... a cheerleader in high school! I do indeed have an excess of pep and am extremely grateful to have found a pep outlet in D.C. United and their fan groups, who have been so welcoming. ♥

(I'm on the far left.)

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Note from Filmi Girl:

I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.

If you don't like my sense of humor, please just move on by - Trolls are not appreciated and nasty comments will be deleted.

xoxo Filmi Girl
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