But a show at the Kent State Tuscarawas Performing Arts Center put all that to rest. I was in attendance for The State Ballet Theatre of Russia’s performance of Romeo and Juliet. I must confess that I was eager to see the show but not having indulged in the fine art of ballet, I was a bit apprehensive. Along with my best friend, Tina, I enjoyed the evening and gained a new perspective of the ballet.
I must confess that I am glad that I knew the storyline of the famous love story. If I didn’t, I would have been quite confused. Even during the show, I regressed back to my high school days of reading the Shakespeare classic and trying to absorb the details of the star-crossed lovers.
During the intermission, Tina and I reminisced about our days back at Strasburg High in Mrs. Diebel and Mr. Gunther’s classes when reading Shakespeare. It was a time when we’d wrinkle our noses at the Shakespearean confusion we had many times leaving those classrooms. But now, it seemed so long ago (it really was!) and those head-scratching days now provided some key insight to the performance taking place before our eyes.
Getting back to more modern times, I recently watched the movie Black Swan. Now before you start to think I’m going to compare that movie with the traveling Russian dancers, I’m not. However, the one thing that struck me from the Black Swan was the athleticism of the dancers. And that was definitely true about the dancing professionals on the PAC stage Jan. 31.
The sheer strength of the dancers was showcased in nearly every scene. From the sword fighting to the artistic ballet moves and lifts, it was apparent that strength, agility and years of practice went into learning their craft.
Looking around the auditorium, I wished there would have been more in attendance, but I was pleasantly surprised at the various age ranges of those in attendance. It was obvious that some of the ballet watchers were indeed dancers themselves. Then there were the men who sat close to their significant others. At first I smiled, thinking how these ladies must have promised endless hours of watching the Outdoor Channel or even the next pay-per-view boxing match, but maybe not. Quite possibly those of us who have not been exposed to the ballet were really enjoying it and, more importantly, appreciating the style and technique of the graceful dancers on stage. I know I was.
If you didn’t attend Romeo and Juliet, you missed a great opportunity to be exposed to another form of the arts that has deep roots in societies across the globe. According to the playbill, the 54 dancers with The State Ballet Theatre of Russia have a long list of accolades and awards for their participation in ballet competitions. These were not rookies that came to the PAC. These were ballet professionals.
So before you wrinkle your nose at going to the ballet, step back and really understand what The State Ballet Theatre of Russia is. It is a troupe of dancers who have performed in North America, Africa, Asia and Europe, bringing the art of ballet not only to audience members who have seen hundreds of performances, but also to those, like me, who attended the ballet for the first time and truly gained a sense of appreciation for the art.
The night was enjoyable for me, but it was even more so to see the ballet on the PAC stage. While the arts center has a variety of different types of performances throughout its season, blending in a cultural masterpiece such as ballet puts the KSU Tuscarawas Performing Arts Center at a new level—a higher, prestigious level that says PAC is a contender with theaters in surrounding areas such as Cleveland, Columbus and Pittsburgh.
Published: February 10, 2012