This week’s headlines…
- Boston Bombing Suspect Killed in Shootout
- Texas Fertilizer Plant Blast kills up to 15, with over 60 injured
- Death Toll Rises to 32 in Iraq Café Suicide Bombing
These unfortunate headlines demonstrate a stark, inescapable facet of today’s world. Bombs. Violence. Death. Chaos. We live in violent times, bitterly relevant times. And then here’s me with my ballet post, my Tweets and Facebook shout-outs (peddling this blog: http://www.theclassicalgirl.com/?p=289), telling people to hurry over and see a ballet dancer because she’s very pretty and graceful and you will swoon and it will be great, you’ll see.
Is ballet unnecessary or fluffy or irrelevant? Should I feel ashamed of my priorities, my preferences? Possibly. There’s room for all sorts of unappealing emotions in my psyche. But here’s the thing: for the past two days, I’ve needed it to retreat into. I’ve needed to go to a place of beauty and grace that’s separate from the chaos, the grim headlines.
I can’t change what’s going on in the world today. I won’t hide from it. I’ll process the tragic news with the dignity and respect it deserves. I’ll help where/when I can, and support those who fight for justice, peace, a better world. But at the end of the day (or, today, eight o’clock in the morning), I’ll slip away to spend some time with my lighter fare.
“Lighter fare” is, perhaps, the wrong word. The arts exist on a different realm. They represent explorations of all those complex emotions and snarled situations that waft in and out of our lives. They try to express the inexpressible. They explore the pathos in beauty, and the beauty in pathos. They lift us out of the everyday muck and allow us a glimpse of the bigger picture.
In my last blog, I extolled the virtues of “Old World” ballet, that era of beauty and charm and gorgeous classical music. Royal Ballet principal Alina Cojocaru is a stellar example of this and a link to her sublime dancing can be found on the post I linked above. But for today, I’m thinking I need a dose of Damian Smith and Yuan-Yuan Tan in Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain (filmed outdoor, the Pacific Ocean as a stunning backdrop). It reminds me that, after the rain, after the bombing, can come the healing. Watching it, listening to the hauntingly beautiful music, something tight in me loosens. Something else, loose and ungrounded in me, settles, finds its place.