What I saw: Dada Masilo’s “Swan Lake” at the Joyce Theater
What I wore: plaid wool skirt, tights, and boots
What I did beforehand: rode the E train downtown
Who went with me: My husband, who enjoyed it, saying, “In the wild, one swan looks almost exactly like another.”
How I got tickets: online, full price
Why I saw this show: I read a review in the New York Times and assumed I should see this since the last time I went to the ballet (ABT at the Met, June 2014), I saw Swan Lake.
Where I sat: Row J, orchestra; once again, I was next to a woman who laughed at the same things I did
What it is: a re-imagined Swan Lake, choreographed by South African dancer Dada Masilo, featuring Swan Men and Swan Women, with moments of balletic satire. An amalgam of dance traditions including ballet, modern and African dance, performed by a troop of satisfyingly diverse dancers, this production seemed engaging and honest. As I sat enjoying all the better, playful things the dancers did with their tutus (other than wear them while looking severe), I started thinking about the way people express their gender, and about dance as an art form, and about how the product of human movement and gesture embodies, at its best, an unspoken discourse. I haven’t yet stopped thinking about the (non-verbal) conversation between the dancers (as the expressive medium of the choreographer) and me. This Swan Lake was about more than Swan Lake.
Things that were sad: The ending
Things that were funny: The Mother’s opening monologue, the booty-shaking in tutus
Things that were not funny: the music levels were irritatingly inconsistent
Who should see it: people who admit they don’t understand ballet, people who think they do understand ballet
What we did on the way home: argued over mostly passable tapas at a highly recommended spot nearby; it was uncomfortably noisy. Also, I sat in a draft.