Sunday, June 27, 2010

Beauty and the Beast Ballet

Nearly a month ago, Amie discovered that a ballet version of Beauty and the Beast would be performed at the Temecula Theater in Old Town this weekend. Katie loves the story of Beauty and the Beast, and she loves dance, so we decided to make it a family date: Daddy, Katie, me, Amie, and Boppa.

We spent a lovely morning in our pajamas, making buttermilk pancakes and reading and playing with her dolls until it was time to dress for our matinee. Katie picked out her outfit, from her dress to hair ribbon to her red shoes, which she named "apple shoes" sometime ago. She could not have been more excited. When it was time to go, I plucked a red rose from our garden for her to carry, and she was thrilled to have a rose just like the Beast.

The ballet fascinated her. She was so good about watching and paying attention. As we returned from intermission, the couple next to us commented to me about how well-behaved Katie was. She did get a little more vocal with some questions during the second act, but she sat quietly for the most part. The personification of the red rose intrigued her as a ballerina danced in a beautiful red costume. Katie remarked, "I didn't know a rose could have a face!" I love that Katie knew it was the rose, and I really enjoyed watching the ballet through Katie's eyes. Both scenes in the woods frightened her a bit, and I realized how very real everything was to her. Magical, to have the capacity of a child to imagine so intensely.

Part of the appeal of taking Katie to a ballet version of a story she knows well is that she had to respond to the music and dance without the aid of any words. She had only music and visual cues to spark the unfurling of the story in her head, so she really got to work other parts of her brain today. She seemed to keep up, and she even laughed at parts with Gaston that were meant to be more comical.

After the show, we all shared gelato. It made for an extra-special treat and end to our day.

At home later, we talked about the ballet. I asked her if she could still picture the ballerinas dancing on stage, and she gave a hearty, "Yes!" I love that she has all that prettiness now swirling around in her mind.

Here are some pictures from our outing:

After the show, some of the dancers came out to the front of the theater. Katie saw Lumiere from a distance and wanted to say hello. Cosgworth also came over to greet us. To Katie, these two young men are Lumiere and Cogsworth. We printed out this picture after her bath, and she carried it around all the way until bedtime. "Lumiere is my super-duper friend" she kept saying. These young men probably do not quite know how special they are to my daughter, but I can say to all artists/performers out there: whenever you doubt your art or what you do, just think about how magical your art appears to a child, because he or she loves you enthusiastically with all his or her might. And isn't that what art is really for?

Katie with her grandparents before the show.

Amie and Katie hold the playbill.

Katie, me, and Bill outside of the theater.

Before we left, Bill took this picture. Eric came along, too! We are 32 weeks and 1 day along. He seemed to like the music today, because he was kicking around merrily during the show. I actually kept thinking about how much my Uncle Eric, his namesake, loved the theater and all forms of the arts.
What a fun Sunday afternoon!