At the Ballet...

Jennifer Butler

  • OnStage Massachusetts Columnist

Growing up I did not have the interest in theater that I have now. Sure, I enjoyed being a part of my second grade play but most of my time was spent playing soccer, basketball and t-ball outside. Going to the ballet didn't happen when I was child, it just wasn’t something that I wanted to do. I didn’t get involved with dance or theatre until high school and up until that point the only show I remember seeing as a child was “Annie”. After seeing a few shows as an adult, my interest in theater peaked more and more, which lead to becoming involved, and actually obsessed with theater. Theater allows me to take trips to many different places.

However, a trip that I have been unable to take, until recently, was a trip to the ballet. That all changed this past week when I had the opportunity to attend a performance of the Boston Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.”  I walked in pretty excited and left more thrilled than ever. 

What I think captured my attention most about the ballet was that it was a story that was told without any words. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love to both hear and tell stories as often as I can. 

But what the ballet does in getting the story across with just the music, costumes, acting and dancing is unlike anything I have seen before. It was the first time in a long time that I was able to actually follow the story and enjoy it for what it is, an incredible art form (instead of trying to figure out how somethings were done or being distracted by something that happened in the wings). I didn’t count how many turns the ballerina did, I just watched the jumps and turns happen. I just sat (on the edge of my seat, I might add) and watch the hand painted set changing like the flipping of a page in a story. And just because the ballet didn’t have any words to tell the story, did not make me like it any less, in fact it allowed me to enjoy it more. The costumes, props and sets only enhanced the dancing to help tell the story.

To be honest, I could have just watched the dancers dance and still have had a great time. But to me, a story teller, the other elements were needed for the audience to understand what was happening in the story. 

Over all, I was enthralled in every moment, captivated by the steps and have officially decided that this is my new tradition every year. Whether it’s the holiday season or not, after this past week, I am most certainly looking for more opportunities to have another night out at the ballet.