Because she is such a good friend, Mrs. Greenjeans gave me a subscription to Boston Ballet for my birthday. And because I, too, am a good friend, I gave her a subscription to Boston Ballet for her birthday. Upon conducting the usual audits of our cultural expenditures, our husbands did not know what to make of this accounting. We are awesome that way.
One of the ballets in our subscription was on Valentine's Day. Although we are very good friends, we didn't think it right to go out together on Valentine's and leave our husbands home with the kids. Not after YEARS of pecking at those same husbands to keep us in mind on the 14th of February. Even if we got them flowers before we went.
And then we had the super genius idea of getting extra tickets and taking the husbands to the ballet for Valentine's. How romantic! Lucky for them, we did enough preliminary fact-checking to see that this was maybe not the one for them. So we changed our tickets to a different night (same program).
The performance was Jiri Kylian's Black & White, a series of 5 ballets, and boy howdy are we glad we didn't bring the husbands.
It was apparent early on that we had made the right decision. I spent the first ballet giggling quietly to myself about how my friend's husband would have loathed it. Mine would have been fine. I felt superior for him. And then, hahahaha! There was one in which all the male dancers had their pants around their ankles. I do not happen to be kidding. Chris would have made me pinky swear that I'd never make him go to another ballet again as long as we both lived so help me God. At first it was fine and then the soloist.... Oh. It was one of those things where I think I'm pretty open minded... and he wasn't doing anything WRONG, and yet I couldn't help but think I should avert my gaze. Which I couldn't.
Fine for us. Not so fine for the husbands.
Jiri Kylian is amazing. These ballets are like watching Henry Moore sculptures come to life. But thinner. Four out of the five ballets were practically disanthropomorphic. It reminded me at one point of a film we saw at the Hirshhorn, in which all these black tops were spinning on a stage. The tops would come and go and fall over and wander around and after awhile, they seemed almost human. It was like that, except opposite.
It was one of those nights where I could not believe my good fortune to be exactly where I was. I almost hate to tell you about it because let's face it, I don't think Black & White shows up that often in company repertoire and it's probably the last time I'll ever get to see it.
Outside of YouTube, that is. I could watch Jiri Kylian clips all day. He is a genius and I absolutely cannot wrap my head around how he choreographs these ballets. Not that I can usually, but these were exceptionally head-exploding. (I am so sophisticated, no? I am sure Boston Ballet will pick up this review and include it in their next mailing. Watch for it.)
This is part of one we saw, Petite Mort: