Monday, 8 December 2014


I actually went to the ballet recently.
That's about the third time in twenty odd years. How sad is that?
I love ballet, but we don't get a huge amount of it here in the North West, and when we do, I miss it, or am too broke, or hear about it after the event.
But this time I actually made it to the one and only performance.

Ballet Ireland Swan Lake photo by Ros Kavanagh, taken from Internet

I have my friend, the Goddess of Plenty to thank, because if she hadn't invited me to go with her, I'd never have known it was on.
Ballet Ireland in Sligo, dancing Swan Lake. Goodness gracious.

DodoWoman joined our happy band, and when the three of us arrived at the theatre in Sligo, we wondered for a moment if we'd got the wrong night and were in for a Panto instead. The foyer was heaving with  hordes of excited children.
I have to confess, my heart sank slightly as we took our seats in the balcony - three solid rows of young kids behind us, more on either side. I wondered whether it would be Swan Lake to Tchaikovsky or to a stream of burbling chatter.
At least that took my mind off what sort of performance Ballet Ireland had in store. The last ballet I'd seen on our relatively modest stage had been performed by a very reduced company. Lovely, but not the full monty, and I although I was just happy to be there, deep down I didn't really want a compromised Swan Lake - I wanted the traditional, full, unexpurgated version in all its moonlit, feathery glory.

Ballet Ireland photo from the Internet

I have heard the music many times in the intervening years, and it never fails to move me, but there is nothing like hearing it in the hush of a darkened theatre, waiting for the curtains to rise. What I hadn't expected was to be transported, with the first bars of the score, back to my own childhood, sitting in the stalls at Covent Garden at the tender age of eleven, staring at the rich velvet curtains, waiting, waiting, hardly able to breathe with excitement. As the ballet unfolded, I recalled every nuance of that first magical experience, the haunting music flooding through me like adrenaline, the dancers an enchanted dream just beyond reach - the exquisite romance of it all, the pathos, the heartbreak.

It was a fabulous performance, that night in Sligo. The Swan Lake I had fallen in love with all those years ago, not changed, or reduced, or modernised, just the tried and tested classic that bewitched me as a child.

Wonderfully, it betwitched the countless children in the audience too.
There wasn't a peek out of anyone during the whole evening.
Thank you, Ballet Ireland.
And thank you, Talentui Goddess  

Photo:  taken from the Internet


  1. I love Swan Lake and have seen many recorded performances, but never live. Lucky you!!!

    1. Hi Mac n' Janet - Yes, I was very lucky to be taken to Covent Garden as a child - it started a life long love of ballet. Also very lucky to have been told about the performance in Sligo, as I'm hopeless at knowing what's going on!

    2. I too love Swan Lake. My mother took me to see it when I was five years old. It was wonderful and I have loved the ballet ever since. So glad you were able to enjoy it live.

  2. Ah beautiful. We saw Swan Lake last year at The Lowry and it was also fabulous. Well done for going

    1. Hi J - you are very lucky having The Lowry so near, and great that you make such good use of it!


Ah, go on! Make my day - leave a comment!