After receiving longed-for news that I am no longer Pinnochio, but a real live boy at my job, I went joyously to see the Royal Ballet's Sleeping Beauty, broadcast in HD from Covent Garden and shown at a cinema theatre in Halifax on Saturday. Not only is Sleeping Beauty one of my favorite ballet scores (the soul-touching Tchaikovsky), but it showcases one of my favorite pas de deux - the Bluebird pas de deux.
I love this piece of dance so much, I set out to make a short film focusing on the choreography's attempt to replicate flight. I was even shortlisted by the Canada Council for the project, but alas, did not get the grant. Someday.
The dancer who agreed to be in the film if it got the green light was Johan Persson, at left. He danced for the National Ballet of Canada when I worked at the theatre as an usher. He was the best Bluebird I've ever seen. His powerful masculinity inhabited his performance like a shapeshifter. He was shivery-awesome to behold.
He's now retired from dance and is a photographer specializing in theatre photography, as well as portraits. He's definitely spoiled me as far as Bluebird performances go. The Bluebird pas de deux takes place near the end of the ballet, so part of me is waiting and waiting for it to start, even though I'm reveling in the rest of the ballet.
Imagine my dismay when the Bluebird started and the guy absolutely sucked. She was great - he sucked. I won't even tell you who it is. If I can't say anything nice, I won't say anything at all.
If you want to see what the Bluebird should look like, check out this wonderful performance I found on YouTube by Vitali Tsvetkov from the Mariinsky Ballet Theatre.
Don’t wish it all away, I always think.
The overture begins. The ballet starts.
Anticipation drags me to the brink -
The tale unfolds, each luscious scene departs.
And then the prince and princess are to wed.
I long to see one very special guest,
And when that music sweetly fills my head,
The pas de deux begins that I love best.
So masterfully he steps upon the stage,
No longer man, but fiercely vibrant beast.
More than any war with earth-bound waged,
These variations let us mortals feast
Upon the victory this dancer scores.
The man who dances Bluebird truly soars.
- Copyright - Julia Smith - June 22, 2008