Sunday, 23 February 2014

Scottish Ballet: Highland Fling

To make things simple, this is La Sylphide the modern version.

The ballet began with a washroom scene, in which dancers continuously stood in front of the urinals pretend to pee. I drank a tall cup of Starbucks before I entered the theatre, so I got increasingly desperate and as a result, I couldn't really focus on the performance (sorry). And as the stagelight began to dim at the end of Act 1, I started to move to the entrance so that I could be the first one to rush to the washroom before anyone else as soon as the stuff opened the door. It sounds hilarious now but I swore I'm never gonna let this happen again. Lesson learnt.

I wasn't completely blind that time, I just couldnt focus enough to understand what was going on. But I still love tartan everything a lot. Usually romantic ballets are all white or dreamy in tone, but with the tartan costumes and wallpaper and stagewings this looks so smart and proud in the Scottish sense. I personally like to wear and use things made of tartan fabrics a lot, so I find it very attractive to look at.

The dance has, I guess, about 50% ballet, and the rest is made up of jazz, modern, and Scottish folk dance. No one wears pointe shoes, and this is quite special to me because traditionally the sylphs show their weighlessness by a lot of pointe work. In this the sylphs actually look quite gravitionally-friendly to me, except sometimes get carried either by wire or other sylphs. Moreover, I especially like how they suddenly transit from ballet to folk, from folk to modern, etc. All melt into each other so smoothly that you don't actually feel that the steps belong to "different kinds" (if you understand what I mean).

One thing that kept me thinking during the whole show is, why do the sylphs use their arms to "fly" when the wings on their back do not seem to move?

So, if you love a sylph, don't cut her wings, or she will die. But it seems like James, the groom, becomes a sylph himself after he dies. If a human becomes a sylph after he dies, what does a sylph become after she dies? Does she become a unicorn or something that will come back to tempt a sylph? Or does James not become a sylph after he dies (or does he not actually die) but just some spiritual being with wings?