I have found from my previous experiences with foreign travel (well any travel really) the first few days are rather rough. You are in an unfamiliar place, not really knowing where anything is, where you are going, or how to get there. On top of that everything is in a different language. German, as a language, is so different than any other language I know. I have studied both French and Spanish in school and from those can figure out parts of Italian and other romance languages fairly easily. There are a lot of similarities. But in German, the words are just so random! There are a lot of consonants. I am starting to get a hang of the very simple words like please, thank you, numbers and a few transportation related words. Other than that it has been trial and error. I’m sure once my culture shock has faded away a bit I’ll get more comfortable speaking but for now I am just going to try to do as much as possible with as few words as possible.
The highlight of yesterday (which mostly consisted of wandering around town on foot and getting stuck in the rain and cold winds) was going to see Dresden Semperoper Ballet’s premiere of Jewels, a George Balanchine ballet. When Hannah and I finally found where the box office was tickets were nearly sold out. We lucked out though! We got two of the last tickets in the theatre for the student price of only 11 Euro, compared to the normal price of 39 Euro. Yay! We arrived at the theatre about 15 minutes early via tram from our apartment and wandered up to our seats in the 4th tier. The building is gorgeous!!!
Brief history lesson from the guidebook: The building burnt down entirely in 1871 just 30 years after it was opened. It was fully rebuilt and reopened by 1878 and housed the premieres of many famous German composers, Strauss, Weber, and Wagner to name a few. It was shut down temporarily during World War II but was back in full swing starting in 1985.
On the way upstairs we bought programs to read while we were waiting for the show to begin. Of course they were all in German (duh) save for one page in the back explaining why Balanchine created Jewels. He was inspired by the emeralds, rubies, and diamonds that he saw one day in a store front in New York City. Those three jewels then became the themes, and names, for the three corresponding sections of the ballet, each with different costumes and styles of choreography relating to the certain gem.
The performance was magnificent! The corps was fabulously together throughout the night and the principals and soloists danced beautifully. I had so many moments of awe I don’t think I can count them on my hands and feet combined. Comparing the casting with the list of company dancers I was pleasantly surprised to find that a few of the dancers who performed principal and soloist roles were in the corps! They seemed so comfortable and seasoned in lead roles. I hope to see more great things from them to come.
I can’t believe I am about to start dancing along such talented dancers! What an opportunity. What an experience. I can’t wait!