Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ballet Basics

Hm, field trip to see the ballet of "Cinderella" today. Nice sets and costumes, adequate dancing, and...

A lady with serious Locust Valley Lockjaw who felt it necessary to explain the plot of Cinderella to a bunch of early elementary children. Um. Anyone not know this story? Oh good, so let's dispense with the synopsis - especially the unfortunate use of the phrase "gossamer wings", 'cause very few 4-7 year olds understand it.

What they DID understand was that this is the story of Cinderella without any words. On with the show. Children are not as stupid as some people think they are.

1 comment:

  1. This is exactly what frustrates me about working in opera outreach, and why I don't want to do it anymore unless I can design the program. Too many "experts" on the artform who know nothing about children or pedagogy, but who enjoy talking down to the unwashed populace to prove that they are experts.

    Then the kids, who don't understand Mr.Expert and don't see why they need to know so many Italian words to enjoy a show, get restless and inattentive...and Mr.Expert shrugs and says, "what can you do, they're just kids" while all the admins at the opera company nod in commiseration. hard is it to describe Magic Flute -- the prince and his silly sidekick slay a dragon, rescue a princess and go through 3 challenges to prove their bravery. Cosi fan Tutte -- two sisters get punked by their cocky boyfriends on a bet. I said that to a bunch of Latino high schoolers and they loved it...after seeing the excerpt they wanted to know how the story ended.

    This summer at a camp for gifted/talented kids, my middle schoolers are going to make a musical out of Elixir of Love in the style of Grease -- we'll call it Love Potion No.9 and use 50s songs with the original story line set in an American high school. It's not that hard to make things relevant.

    "Gossamer wings" indeed!! I hope the kids liked the ballet anyway.