What a festive evening at the Metropolitan Opera! The American Ballet Theatre opened its Spring season with Alexei Ratmansky’s “Whipped Cream.” Everything about this ballet is sweet… a big crowd pleaser for sure—especially popular among kids but no one can resist all that cuteness! After the show one almost felt like having a sugar crash! The costumes and set are candies for the eye. But the biggest candy for me is to see David Hallberg back on stage—a much awaited return to this “home stage” after an almost career-ending injury.
The journey he went through and his tenacity along the path of his recovery is heartwarming to read (check out the article on Vulture.com by Rebecca Milzoff here). I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t get to greet him at the backstage exit after waiting for three quarters of an hour, but it was a big enough treat to watch him dance on stage again.
Words aren’t adequate enough to describe how I felt during the show! My heart sang and my spirits soared, in such a way that transcended sheer excitement! If I were to use any adjectives at all to describe how he moved on stage, they would be “silky elegance.” His seamless movements remind me of a panther, and his spirit, that of a Phoenix. He was not only amazing to behold but he seems to have acquired a new way of dancing with an air of transcendence about him! There is something “inward” and meditative about his whole being that is different from when I saw him last—three years ago in Hong Kong. He was also brimming with joy and appreciation… and it radiated across the entire stage.
Of course I also thoroughly enjoyed watching Daniil Simkin, as always; as well as seeing Stella Abrera and Sarah Lane perform live for the first time. Daniil was marvelous with his playfulness and feisty jumps in a role that fits him like a glove–the boy who has stolen and indulged in just a little too much whipped cream and gotten sick! Stella Abrera, the first Asian American who became a principal dancer with the company, danced the lovely Princess Tea Flower whereas Sarah Lane danced Princess Praline, both of whom were exquisite and elegant.
Overall, what a joy fest!
I was a little surprised to find so many in the audience dressed up to the nines. It was like attending a high society ball. Turned out that many of them would be attending a post-show party in a hotel, hosted by a sponsor. Well, for me, it was just fun to watch what was akin to a cat walk on the red carpet! Let me show you how the opera house looked that evening:
When I was waiting at the backstage exit, I spotted Mary Helen Bower, of Ballet Beautiful fame, walk past with her husband. She is as beautiful in real life as she looks in her pictures. I also got to chat with a German girl whose sister studied ballet with Daniil Simkin’s mother in Germany. She had wanted to take a picture with Daniil to make her sister jealous. Unfortunately neither her plan nor my wish to meet David panned out. I also chatted with the mother of Breanne Granlund, who danced one of Princess Praline’s Swirl Girls. She is such a devoted ballet mom, not only to this ballerina but another one who works for the Washington Ballet at Kennedy Center. And she has even started to make and sell ballet skirt on etsy. Talk about living one’s passion to the fullest. Being such a humble lady, she had no idea how much she inspires others and—I’m sure—her own daughters.
Click below for a video showing the inside of the Met and the curtain call. Notice at 9 seconds into the video, a girl wearing a wedding cake dress walked into the ground floor foyer: