So this weekend, I had a whirlwind trip back up to the San Francisco Bay Area to see the World Premiere of the first ever “web ballet” by Diablo Ballet. I posted before about this great idea– using social media to crowdsource ideas for a ballet, and allowing the public to participate in the creation of a piece of art. I submitted several ideas via Twitter, and was shocked when I discovered that some of my suggestions were chosen! I just absolutely couldn’t miss this event, so I snagged some airline tickets.
The Diablo Ballet is a wonderful company. They’re small, exceptionally talented, and very friendly. I was amazed at what a big deal they made about me coming up to see the performance. I was greeted enthusiastically and made to feel like an honored guest. I met with their marketing director, Dan Meagher, one of the dancers, Mayo Sugano, and even the choreographer himself, Robert Dekkers. I was also invited to take part in a taped interview for the local news channel– that was definitely not something I was expecting! All in all I felt so involved and appreciated– way to make a girl’s happiness soar!
The ballet itself was absolutely stunning. It was light-hearted, poked fun at itself, and then took a right turn into dark and twisted territory. The idea of being isolated from your species and essentially tortured in the name of science was as heart-wrenching as the movements of the gender-bending “Dodo birds” was funny. To juxtapose the two, and in such a short performance, was jarring in a thought-provoking and constructive way. The costumes were absolutely perfect: little painted mustaches on the “explorers” (the female dancers), and frilly tutus and turquoise scarves on the “birds” (the males). To my boyfriend I said, “Gee, in another life where I am a ballet choreographer, this is just how I would’ve done this piece.”
The other pieces in the set were gorgeous too– “The Blue Boy,” “La Covacha,” and “Pas de deux from Sinuosity” were all fun or gorgeous in their own way. Outside of the “Flight of the Dodo” web ballet, “Sinuosity” was my favorite because I’m a particular fan of pas de deux. It evoked an underwater feel from the dynamic posing and fluid movements– plus was graced with the extreme power and grace of Mayo Sugano, who quickly became one of my favorites.
Overall the entire trip more than exceeded my expectations. To be able to take part in something like this was mind-blowing as an “adult beginner.” Those of us who begin our dance educations later in life are almost never taken seriously, and we never expect to do much performing or choreography work. As an illustrator, I deal with mostly visual arts. Ballet is a way for me to express my creative energy in a physical way, and I take it very seriously as a hobby– but it something that doesn’t get to be expressed terribly often. This was a great chance for me to feel included in something real, and I’m very thankful that the Diablo Ballet reached out and did such an awesome project.