It all started after Christmas, when we watched a version of The Nutcracker that I had downloaded. Since we only do videos on the weekend, it took a little bit to get through. We then watched Nutcracker: The Movie, which is the movie version of the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s version, with costumes and sets designed by Maurice Sendak, and which much more closely follows the original E. T. A. Hoffman story. That likewise took a couple of weeks to finish.
I thought we would be done with ballet after that, but I was wrong. After a brief interlude of the Disney Sleeping Beauty, they asked for more ballet. I found a version of the Sleeping Beauty ballet online, so we watched that. I figured with the familiar story line and lots of the same music, it would be an easy one for them. I didn’t know that Sleeping Beauty is long. Really long. So long that it usually gets trimmed way down. So that took several sessions, but we finished it up.
I thought we’d be able to go back to animated movies after that, but again, I was wrong. They asked for another ballet. I decided on Swan Lake, figuring the story would be interesting. Also, a few years ago when I was on a temporary duty in Moscow I saw it performed in the Maly (since the Bolshoi was under remont at the time), so I’d be able to talk about some differences in the choreography. They seemed to enjoy it, especially the scenes with all the swans dancing (which are, actually, quite visually impressive).
We just finished Swan Lake tonight, and I haven’t (yet) heard a request for more ballet. I wonder if they’re danced out? Probably not, since they have all been periodically playing ballet since Christmas. Also, the music seems to have worked its way into their internal monologues, since every so often I catch one of them humming or singing the theme to Swan Lake. When I heard it, it took a minute to place, but it was pretty clearly the main theme. If they are danced out, maybe I’ll try opera next. I’d probably try The Magic Flute, but I’m not sure we’d be able to stand all four of them doing the “Papapapapapageno” number over and over and over and over and over again.