Monday, November 20, 2006

Ballet Part Two, -- Of Things Unfamiliar

Well, so Saturday night was a night of several unfamiliar things.

First: the ballet. This was a thing to behold. There are, apparently, two competing major Georgian dance troupes. We saw the one called "Sukhishvili" -- also known as the Georgian National Ballet (although so is the competition). How to describe this...

Imagine a crowd of about seventy dancers dressed in stylized versions of various Eastern European folk costumes, dancing highly complex broadway-style numbers involving acrobatics, leaps into the air that would make Spud Webb weep with shame, spark-inducing sword fights, people spinning like tops across stage on their knees and flinging dagger after dagger (after dagger) into the ground.

This is ballet on crack.

To be honest, there's some history here that needs to be acknowledged. Yes, it's derived from old folk dances, and yes, those dances are far from accurately represented. Same with the costumes. So, among the purists, it's far from "Georgian." -- I don't know for sure, but I'd be willing to be that the development of the Georgian National Ballet had much more to do with the USSR wanting to promote "culture" and to impress the world ("look what the Communists produce!") and that's fine. It's not anything like an accurate representation of history. Fine. But what a show! We sat in the third row, and sweat from the dancers (which shot off them because they were spinning like tops) sailed over our heads, missing us completely. That's how good a show it was.

You know how, in regular ballet, you occasionally see a ballerina pop up on one toe, and maybe do a pirouette, or dance across the stage? Well, in this show, men were sword-fighting, and tossing daggers in the ground while leaping around en pointe.

Things unfamiliar indeed. Their website is currently down, but if it ever comes back up you should look at it. www.gnb-sukhishvili.ge

oh yeah: second unfamiliar thing. After getting back from the theater Saturday night I promptly got ridiculously sick, and started throwing up everything but those little bones in the bottom of my feet. I'd only ever been this sick once before, and it ended up with me in the hospital. The puking ended (thankfully) early Sunday morning, but all day Sunday I bumped around in a headachy, weak-stomached daze. It was awful. Felt like the worst hangover I've ever had, only I hadn't drunk a drop.

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