yes, i'm talking about the hoary yet irresistible ballet extravaganza that every ballet company in america whips into shape at christmas.
last year, i took my 10-year old "little sister" (big bros/big sisters) b to the michael smuin-choreographed san francisco production. i hadn't been in years, but it was gorgeous, traditional enough to suit the crowd, and the orchestra was superb. today, we went to a local production in a nearby town, and what different fun that turned out to be. well, naturally one notices immediately the barbarity of using a recording, the thunderous dancing, the tiredness of shoestring costumes, the relentless mediocrity of the stage sets. BUT, the ballet was so unadorned that b easily grasped the "story line" in a way she did not last year. she could see how some dancers struggled to keep their balance, and how some danced more gracefully. she remembered some of the stage sets from last year, and we had a rousing conversation about the differences we had noticed, good and bad. plus, the sheer fun of seeing all these little dancers from local ballet schools gave us a thrill.
next year, however, we agreed it's back to the opera house.