To The Ballet

About last night…some of you may have seen I was off somewhere magical with a few friends, and that was to the divine performance of Coppélia by The Australia Ballet at the Bunjil Place Theatre. I’ve loved the ballet since I was a young girl, and though I never actually had any lessons (my mum decided gymnastics and swimming were more to my taste), I’ve loved seeing a fair few ballets over the years.

Part of the reason I love going to the ballet is that you dress up (or at least I do…I mean, any excuse right???). You go out for a night with friends, have a good time in a world away from everything else, and float away into some fairytale dream that night. It’s something you do once in a while, and it’s beyond just a feeling of being cultured, it’s about being connected to all these stories that are passed down through generations and revived and still provide meaning for people despite the passage of time. There’s this sense of historical linkage to both the past and the future in terms of what we value in culture today. And it makes me think about what exactly culture, and aesthetic, even is.

But ballet is also performance. Music, movement, and expression. It’s this inexplicably fascinating combination that I just simply adore. As many of you would know, music and sport have both played big, formative roles in my life, and I’d probably attribute a lot of my persistence and time management skills to those things. But they’ve also provided outlets for my brain when it goes into overdrive; putting them together just does something to me. Although in gymnastics I loved the uneven bars the best (and still love watching it the most), the floor routines set to music had me conceiving so many ideas. In fact, thinking about it now, that was probably an early germination of my creativity.

Ballerinas are graceful, elegant, beautiful, dramatic, glamourous, breathtaking, stylish, skilled, disciplined, inspiring, creative, aesthetic…the list goes on. They’re simultaneously steeped in tradition and yet increasingly contemporary (although of course, I prefer classic ballets if I’m totally honest). And everything that the idea of ballet exudes is something I’ve always wanted to capture with my camera. So, you know, if you are, or know someone who is, a ballerina and wants to go en pointe for me, hit me up! I have mood boards ready to go (yes, I’m crazy over photographs of ballerinas). But this goes back to my core purpose in storytelling. When I take a portrait, or any photo really, I’m telling a story, and of course, ballerinas are always doing that for an audience, and I desperately want to find the story behind the one the ballerinas are doing for the show.

But back to what I saw last night. Coppélia is one I’ve always wanted to see but hadn’t until now. I’m so glad I didn’t see it until I was older and could properly appreciate it. The music of Delibes is so utterly delightful, the story itself so completely arresting whatever your age, and the costumes are simply too good for words. Coppélia is one of those ballets that make you smile, and I’m so glad I can now say I’ve seen it in person! ✨💃

-nat 🌺💖