Before I came on this trip, my girlfriend’s sister who is a ballet dancer for Ballet Magnificat, a company in Mississippi, told me to try to go to the American Ballet Theater while I was here. She emphasized that it was pretty much the best. Despite not being the biggest fan of ballet, I told her I’d try. When I found out that we were already scheduled to go and I wouldn’t have to go out of my way to see them perform, it was kind of exciting seeing as how much of a reputation the company gets. I wasn’t really excited for the ballet so much as I was for seeing a performance from a relatively famous theater.
The venue was impressive; probably more impressive than the ballet itself (not to say that it wasn’t impressive). But the architecture, the marble, the chandeliers, and the theater itself fit the image that is given to the name. It was interesting seeing a famous play performed through ballet, even if the lack of spoken language prevented an easily translatable performance. I think that what made it translatable at all however was that everyone who came to the ballet most likely already knew the story of Romeo and Juliet. The set pieces, music, and dancing was all on point and not as boring to watch and hear as I might have thought beforehand, but I can’t say that I would be willing to see the ballet if it was performed by a different company, even if everything was just as well performed.
I’ve found that this mentality of wanting to see things because of its popularity and influence extends to most things I’ve done in New York, particularly in the museums. Not that its a bad thing, but when I’ve gone to museums, I’ve spent the most time looking at recognizable art, as have most of the other people around me. I honestly might like how another piece looks better than the one with a dozen people crowded around it, but the history of that piece that I’ve known about beforehand is what draws me and those other people in. Sometimes people view art for how well known it is, and sometimes for the quality that they see in it. For me, its been a mixture of both. It’s exciting to experience first hand things that are “a big deal”, but its also great to see/listen to new art in galleries or venues around the city. New York offers a hefty selection of both which further characterizes it as a major center for the arts.