I can still remember the very first time I saw The Nutcracker when I was a little girl. I was eight years old, and my parents took me and my brother into Manhattan to see the New York City Ballet. The entire city was lit up with lights and decorations, but the real magic happened inside the theatre—when the stage came to life and I was thrilled by the wondrous flurry of dancing before my eyes. The Nutcracker, choreographed by the legendary George Balachine with music by Tchaikovsky, is still one of my favorite ballets. There is nothing like the snowstorm of ballerinas that grace the stage, sweeping the audience away to exotic and fanciful locales in the Land of Sweets. With beautiful costumes and talented performers, this ballet is what made me fall in love with dance in the first place.
Since I’ve grown older, I have had the privilege of studying dance myself and seeing many performances. My favorite ballerina—Margot Fonteyne—thrilled me with her performance in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. (Granted, I saw it online and not in person, but it was still unbelievable. If you haven’t seen her dance this with incredible Rudolf Nurejev, you must look up clips online. It will stop your heart.) Swan Lake is a tale of doomed, forbidden love and is one of my favorite ballets, and I had the privilege of seeing Matthew Bourne’s modern interpretation of this classical piece twice—once on Broadway, and most recently at City Center. This is more of a ballet-influenced piece of contemporary dance, which takes the basic premise of the Russian ballet and turns it on its head by having all of the swans portrayed by male dancers, who bring a certain ferocity to the creatures that I’d never before seen onstage. It has the distinction of being the longest running ballet on Broadway and in the West End, and its star, Adam Cooper is (in my opinion) one of the best male dancers working today.
I could go on and list dozens more of my favorite ballets (which include Cinderella, Don Quixote, and Romeo and Juliet) but really is the art of ballet that thrills me: the timeless stories, the incredible, soaring music, and the grace and power of the dancers that make a night out at the ballet so thrilling and so worthwhile. This is also what inspires my characters, especially my protagonist Vanessa Adler. I hope you enjoy all of the dancing in my debut novel, Dance of Shadows, and if you haven’t recently … go out and see a dance performance!
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How I adore Nutcracker and Swan Lake. Definitely two of my all-time favourite ballet performances! Which reminds me, just like how Yelena recommended, I might need to go out and see a dance performance soon! Hope you guys enjoyed the guest post and if you haven't read Dance of Shadows, be sure to check it out. Thank you Yelena for the guest post and Sonia for the putting the blog tour together!