Last weekend I was invited to The Royal Opera House, I had never been to the ballet so I immediately said ‘Yes!’.
I knew the Royal Opera House was a very interesting venue but as soon as we arrived, the image I had in my head was nothing compared to the real beauty of the place.
Immediately as we walked through, my friend said Hello to Mr Victor Hochhauser, who has been bringing the Bolshoi Ballet to London for over 50 years. Wow!! what an honour to be introduced to this legendary man.
I was already excited without even having seen the performance yet, amazed by the architecture, the faultless details on windows, the ceiling, doors – it is a majestic place, where everything is great, even the carpet. My friend’s pace was fast in order to show me around before the first act started; As I was looking, I tried to quickly archive all those pictures in a special place in my mind without missing any details.
We attended The Flames of Paris Ballet in two acts – and to bring more emotion, it was going to be the last night of their performance. I was extremely anxious and thrilled. I followed my friend looking for the seats and we were getting closer and closer to the stage, I couldn’t believe it when we got to the front row, Wow!! Breathtaking!! right in front of the whole orchestra tuning and getting ready.
The director walked in and the applause was like torrential rain, a subtle smile and nod to the crowd letting us know he is in charge, like in movies his hand moved and the magic began…the sound reached my ears passing through my whole body as the vibration made my heart beat faster.
The first act began, my eyes wide open and all my attention on stage. My friend whispered: “that´s Ivan vasiliev, an astonishing performer, it would be nice to meet him, don’t you think?”
I subtly nodded, as I didn’t want to miss anything. I decided not to even blink during the show, wanting to enjoy every single calculated step, movement and gesture that had been masterd with precision over who knows how many hours, days, weeks and months – every jump seemed like it wasn’t affected by gravity.
After the second act, right when the curtain returned to its original position my friend said “It’s time to go”. I thought it was a bit weird but I followed him, he took me to a simple corridor and we again met Mr Victor Hochhauser with his wife Lilian. “Oh there you are!” they said to my friend, before a lady came and let us through the door with a magnetic key. I couldn’t believe what was happening, I was going backstage, yes that’s right! Incredible!! All the dancers were still walking through the curtains and I could hear the public cheering and applauding again and again. While the ballet finished on stage, where I was, things were about to start, happy faces, people hugging, hand shakes, camera flashes everywhere, even the owner of the Chelsea Football Club was there. I felt very lucky to be there too.
Gradually we were approaching to the centre where I finally was introduced to Ivan Vasilev, the principal dancer, still sweating but with a big smile, he agreed to be photographed with me.
What an incredible evening – and things were about the get better! We then went for dinner with some of the dancers and their friends, a dancer called Denis Medvedev – enthusiastic, always with a big smile on his face; Lada, one of the first violins of the Orchestra of the Bolshoi Theatre; an architect who knows Denis from childhood, among others. I can not remember how many toast we made, but all of them were fun. We talked about many topics: family, life, work – until we were the last ones to leave the restaurant -. Now its Thursday and I’m glad I had the chance to live that night, meeting the dancers without masks, or make up, just as they are, very strong, very young, happy and full of life, that is what makes me remember them powerfully, just as they are on stage.