A thought a day….Romeo and Juliet

8 Mar

As I said yesterday, I took myself on a romantic sojourn last night. I have to say it was wonderful and I’m very much looking forward to doing it more often. I remember that as a child I would like to spend time in my own company. I have a vivid memory of being asked by a friend whilst at secondary school why they saw me shopping by myself one saturday afternoon in town? I think my answer went along the lines of because “I don’t like dilly-dallying around shops, I’d rather be at the park”….which in hindsight wasn’t the best way to gain an invitation into the a-list at The Eastwood School. However, spending time in the park did provide me with a small knowledge of birds and their habitats. Which again is not something that the average 13-25 year old is going to find remotely interesting but it did allow me to save my pocket money toward a mighty fine pair of bubblegum pink extreme bell-bottoms! 

But back to last night…

I left work and made my way to Covent Garden, I decided that in this moment of indulgence I would treat myself to tea and cake, which was found at Le Pain Quotidian and served to me by an extremely forthcoming and obliging waiter. Who seemed to love nothing more than dashing between the crowded tables, speaking in a multitude of languages to increase the comfort of each guest. From there I made my way to the Opera House, I spruced myself up, I’m not sure who for and made my way to the Paul Hamlyn bar that takes over the great middle section of the theatre. The magnificent glass walls and chrome bar make you feel as though you are in an extremely classy fish bowl. People watching here was fantastic because the audience members were so broad in type. There were the rich older generation who appeared as though they attended the opera house each week because they looked so comfortable in the space. There were those new to the whole ballet experience, be them bemused tourists taking photo of every centimetre in the building, or those young girls who stood at the bar in their finest heels and dresses drinking a fine glass of champagne, before regretting the heels as they took their standing places in the slips. There were the reluctant children, who ballet is being forced upon, I saw one boy of around 10 years old walk past me with his mother making angry, violent noises and then punching and kicking the air…Not in an act of defiance but rather he was pretending to be an action man in a room full of people who wished him to be a prince. He was having none of it. Then to those others who like me had come alone, we sat or stood trying to be inconspicuous behind books or programmes. I feel I was a little less conspicuous as I stood right in the middle of the bar intently watching those around me. 

I was one of the first people to get into the amphitheatre where my seat was located. To be alone in that huge space was breathtaking. It was then that I realised how happy I was to be alone for that moment because I could really take each nook and cranny in of that awe-inspiring building. This moment was accompianied by the sound of a solo violinist warming up for the performance. The the gathering hush came of people slowly taking their seats. Slowly each instrument entered, slowly building up the tapestry of sound until the hum became a hubbub only to be stifled by the entrance of the conductor demanding both the attention of us and the orchestra. Then the magic happened. 

The parts of Romeo and Juliet that night were danced by Johann Kobborg and Alina Cojacaru who outside of the Royal Ballet are engaged to be wed. Of course, any great dancer should be able to convey absolute emotion and totality in their role but unsurprisingly having partners dance the star cross’d lovers only seeks to set the floor alight!  What I loved most about Cojacaru’s interpretation of the role, was not only her discovery of loving a man, but also the discovery of herself (meaning Juliet) growing into a woman. There is a wonderfully touching pas des deux between the Nurse and Juliet in the first act in which at one moment she dances with a doll in her arms and the next she dances with her own body. She is girl and woman at once so that when Paris arrives she can show her girlish charms compared to the womanly passion she experiences whilst with her Romeo. Her Juliet is not naive but perfectly knowing of how love changes a girl into a lady, how it empowers her and ennobles her to make decisions. 

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Kobborg’s Romeo was equally enchanting, he was playful and caring and did not appear boyish at all. Watching them dance the heart-wrenching final act made you realise how in love this pair was with the dance and with one another. It was fulfilling, bedazzling and sensual even in the final throes. I had completely fallen for them and sat their beaming as they shed the usual formalities when taking their curtain calls to hold one another instead. Which only served to remind me that although the moments of calm and individuality are to be cherished, the moments we spend with those we love are the moments that we should seek to hold in our hearts forever.

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