Nov 9, 2014

Queensland Ballet Provide Incidental Musical Backdrop For Serial Acts of Unsolicited Intimacy

After an awesome day's sleep afforded by the rest of us hoofing it to Lone Pine for a few hours, Nicole woke up non-grumpy and raring to go to the only good thing about the G20 Summit which will be here next week, the G20 Cultural Celebration (the only good thing I'm aware of, I will qualify, before the Thought Police come along and shut my ass down in the interests of publicity whitewashing).

Today's entertainment is an open-air twilight performance of Coppelia by the Queensland Ballet, at the Riverstage, and along with little Maya, one of Eloise's dancing chums, and a stroller laden with goodies, we trundled down there to experience the celebration and see what the night would bring.

First of all, it brought ballet exercises for all the young aspirants, who crowded the mosh-pit in front of the huge stage behind which the amphitheatrical lawns ascended to the peripheral pop-up (probably, that's the phrase of the moment) catering establishments.

Then some interviews on stage which I don't think anybody really listened to, fascinating though they probably were.

All the while, Lyra making herself busy exploring the stage, and whenever music came on, breaking into a pirouetting waltzing ballet-trot around the mosh-pit, gracefully (I use the word advisedly) meandering between the people, occasionally stopping for a cuddle from a stranger's leg, sometimes stopping, and must standing arms outstretched to receive the adulation of the crowd.

We noticed a familiar Chinese face chatting amiably and a queue began to form to have photographs with him. He turned out to be Li Cunxin, the Director of Queensland Ballet, and as I understand it, the very Personage Previously Known As Mao's Last Dancer. He point at Lyra and smiled in a friendly yet occidentally enigmatic way.

So we joined the queue and had photographs with the Director of Queensland Ballet, oooh!

I exchanged some noncommittal platitudes with the Great Man, and we moved on. It was a nice thing for him to have done.

Before long, as part of the educational background of what goes into a ballet performance, and to give the children something to look at, the dancers began to perform their warm-up exercises on stage, pulling unlikely poses whilst being sternly corrected by Madame Za Za (not her real name).

And, as dusk gathered and peals of classical music rang out across the summer evening, Eloise and Maya watching intently from the fence, the dancers continued to perform their stretches and leaps and grand jetties or whatever. And Lyra made herself comfortable with various families she liked the look of, looked up stranger's skirts and garnered sweeties from whoever would give them to her. Which was everybody.

As the light failed some little girls decided to take a little revenge on Lyra's clothing excesses and played a chasing game which ended up with her in a storage area by the side of the stage, and having been retrieved from that predicament by my good self, proceeded to attempt to invade the orchestral area where the players were preparing to play. The security level was readjusting itself to Toddler Alert.

The performance itself soon kicked off, and an epic in three parts it was. I'm sure it was inspiring but as Nicole and I were taking it in turns to track the Monkey and keep her from going too far in terms of over-familiarity with the general public, we saw precious little.

There was some impressive leaping and some mighty fine displays of physical dexterity and buttocks you could fry eggs on, after they'd been cracked between them. I don't know how many Andrew those boys had down their tights, but By George, if I had to guess the flavour of their packets of crisps I'd be going for smoky bacon.

I mean, look at the size of that thing that I've only digitally enhanced slightly. OK, that's a fallacy; I've enhanced it quite a lot.

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