Biblical Battlestar Ballet

Mood: Chilled | Drinking: Chilly Tea

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Saw this Newsweek article about “The End of Christian America” today and found it to be an interesting read. Although I’ve been in the post-Christian era of my life for some time now…

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Those who know me know that I’m a big Battlestar Galactica fan (the reimagining, not the cheesy original). I loved that show for years with the same burning fiery love I’ve harbored for all Joss Whedon’s creations. Which is to say, a metric buttload of lots.

So I found this Onion article about Obama and his depression over the end of the series to be quite amusing. Although my depression over the end of the series is not as amusing, since it’s very real!

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I went to the ballet on Friday night with some girlfriends — the second performance of the San Francisco Ballet I’ve attended this season. (Boy and I saw Swan Lake in February. And yes, he enjoyed it.)

I’m a big ballet fan, but a rather uneducated one. I couldn’t even accomplish a cartwheel as a kid, much less attempt the splits, so I have no natural dancing ability or technical understanding of what it takes to make ballet look so effortless.

But I appreciate it nonetheless, and am so pleased to live in a city with such a world class company. They are truly amazing, and if you live in SF or are coming to visit I highly recommend that you catch a performance — or buy tickets to see them on tour if they come to a city near you!

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-Lo, heading out into a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Ballets Russes

Mood: in-between | Drinking: tea

ballet

For my birthday last fall, my friend K gave me a documentary called Ballets Russes.

I have been a big fan of ballet since I was a wee small thing and my mother took me to see The Nutcracker one holiday.

Unfortunately for my ballet ambitions, I am tall, curvy, and clumsy — and nothing close to flexible, so dancing sur les pointes was not in the cards for me. But I have always harboured a special fondness for dancers that is likely, if I’m being honest, backlit by the green light of jealousy.

Dance in general and ballet in particular is an art form that never fails to amaze me. Perhaps I love it even more because I have no talent for it.

So I knew I was in for a treat when I sat down to watch Ballets Russes, the story of Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and the Original Ballet Russe.

It’s a brilliant documentary, if you’re at all a fance of dance — or of adorable, elderly Russians. I was especially taken with Nathalie Krassovska, one of the founding members — and prima ballerina — of the Ballets de Monte Carlo.

In the documentary, Ms. Krassovska, then in her 80s, dyed black hair coiled atop her head, dons a leotard and swirls about a studio, attempting to recreate the grace of her youth. Something about that moment struck me, made me think about how fleeting beauty is, and how we are in our primes for such a blink of an eye.

It reminded me of one of the last things my grandmother said to me, the day she died, as she struggled to catch her breath walking to the car. She looked up at me with a twisted smile, faded eyes still flashing, and shook her head, “Whatever you do,” she said, “don’t get old!”

“Too late, Nana.” I replied. And I wasn’t really joking.

Of course, this all brings us down to a poem that I wrote, inspired by Ballets Russes and Nathalie Krassovska in particular, but also by my own grandmothers…

Ballets Russes

In monochrome film she is sylph-like,
an ingénue sur les pointes in the footlights,
a fairytale spun across the stage.

Effortlessly she holds her audience.
They time their breaths to each fouetté,
gasp as one with each grand jeté, and
when she pauses, mid-arabesque,
and smiles,
they shriek
they swoon
they die.

Add technicolor and seventy years,
and she is no longer Balanchine’s baby ballerina,
her limbs weighed down with age, unnaturally
bowed with arthritis. In her hair, chemicals
mimic the color of youth, as her violent red lipstick
bleeds into the lines that whisker her mouth.

The mirror behind the barre
reflects her decline, yet she points her toes still,
attempting elegance in orthopedic insoles,
gnarled fingers striving for grace
but falling far short of grand pose.

Then the music begins
and she closes her eyes,
disappearing once more
into sublime black and white.

-Lo, who gets older every passing second.

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