Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Backstage at the Ballet

Short Descriptive Narrative

The mazes wind and stretch throughout the building peppered with dressing rooms. The prop room lurks quietly off in the shadows. One need not venture in there unless as a hand helping to change scenes. The stage manager perches diligently at one of the legs with a clear view of the stage. The performance, a book of cues, etc. sprawled out before her illuminated by a tiny light that splashes across the pages. Her eye carefully evaluating each note and every dancer before her. Her words spoken softly yet full of weight and concentration. They drip heavily from her lips and fall on the ears of the production crew. A buzz of activity, beautiful choreography in its own right, fills the wings and dark crevices surrounding. Each performer and prop ready for their cue. The air is charged with energy and electricity.

The orchestrator’s wand bounces and dances in his hand. Notes of pure euphoria fill the concert hall and softly caress each patron like a great wind brushing past delicate, exposed skin. It consumes every available space. It tip toes over obstacles, flits through the mazes, and creeps into the dressing rooms.

Costumes with fabric so light and elegant linger gingerly like a partner waiting for a dance. Considerable plates of glass flooded by light and pulsing heat stare back at scrutinizing gazes. Every line drawn precisely. A work of art full of color and elegance. A channel of charcoal or cobalt flows beyond the edges enhancing God given features. Or perhaps they are made to look like wrinkles on a weathered face or marks likes those on an animal. Brushes of thick liquid cover dainty lashes, extending them. With each blink they beat like fans reminiscent of a peacock’s tail. Adhesive binds false lashes mixed about the natural. They are interwoven and create a broad, thick forest of black. A thin line of red follows succulent curves, meticulously dividing pink from shades of brown. A row of white teeth are framed by robust, plump lips. Not to mention cheeks so rosy, bright lights cannot wash them out. Every wisp of hair is captured and imprisoned in a tight bun.

As the performance continues, fog from the stage floods the stairway leading down to stage right and left. It lurks about and rolls along the floor devouring everything in its path. Dancers wade into it forcing billows into the air. They seemingly vanish only to spring upward and then, once again, disappear. They reach out as though drowning or being dragged into a foggy grave. Exquisite talent encased in a shell of comedy. Cackles of laughter rise from a pond of mist. It swells like waves in the depths of a peaceful sea. Continuously it pours out until it is no more and the show goes onward.

Slippers and bathrobes give way to costumes and pointe shoes. The audience is waiting and the stage is calling.

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