Yesterday Thing One and I went to see City Ballet's Robbins/Bernstein collaborations program where they performed Fancy Free, The Dybbuk and West Side Story Suite.
The Dybbuk was vastly different from the other two: the plot's more difficult to follow, the dancing a little less exuberant. I'd not noticed before, but Bernstein had some definite themes that appear often in his music, lending a sense of connection from one piece to the next. Robbins' choreography was, well... The usual precision of the dancers at NYCB was on display here, but there was a little laid-back quality because that's how Robbins did it. The "average Joe" dancing in West Side Story or the sailors in Fancy Free are looser than, say, a Giselle or Firebird. Because it was Mother's Day, there were a number of kids in the audience and I thought how perfect this program was to get young'uns excited about ballet. Not just girls, but boys, and not just as dancers but as patrons.
My impetus for getting tickets was seeing a photo of Faye Arthurs in the NYTimes - Faye was in my homeroom one year, and I remember her as a students new to New York, new to SAB, and so eager to learn/experience everything. Within two years, she'd been given a "little pas" (her phrase) in Scenes de Ballet! (It was there that my parent's realized that the ballet recitals I'd clunked my way through for years were nothing compared to what my students could do. And that's putting it politely!) Faye was in two pieces yesterday, most notably as Maria in WSS.
She wasn't the only familiar face yesterday - there were many I'd remembered running up and down the stairs, sitting in class or hanging out on the 6th floor. One has become an example of "why it's not just you I worry about with drinks in the library near the books": just before her AP Calc. exam, she's bought an iced something from Starbucks. She set the plastic cup down and - whoosh! - the bottom seam split and we had iced something all over the place. Completely not her fault, but a good example for future years on how it's not necessarily the klutz that's the problem.
When you work with students, you often wonder what they'll do after school - how well, what they'll become, etc.. In the case of MFPOW, in many cases I know. That's not to say that the students at MPOW aren't talented, but the school's emphasis is different and the talent is not always obvious during their time here.
Yesterday also made me realize how much I miss the energy of the arts, and how lucky I am to be able to see ballet, opera and theatre with relative ease.