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A Swoon-worthy Evening Out: Dinner and Ballerinas

Elegance personified: a statuesque ballerina pirouetting across a dark stage.

If ever you’re in the mood to be visually inspired, or even overloaded aesthetically (and really, who isn’t?), consider an evening at the ballet. Like attending concerts or plays, seeing the ballet in person is so much more moving than watching a performance on TV.

We’re particularly enchanted with the idea of adding the ballet to our on-the-town festivities because it’s a unique cultural experience with a rich and storied history. Keep reading for the most surprising facts we’ve uncovered about ballet; then book tickets for the next show.

The Ballet We Know Best
Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” is perhaps the most famous and well-known ballet in America, but the Imperial Theatres in Russia created it.

Intended as a follow-up to the tremendous success of an 1890 production of “Sleeping Beauty,” the original choreographer for “The Nutcracker” intended to cast children in every role. Adjusting casting plans to feature adult ballet dancers allowed for more sophisticated orchestration from Tchaikovsky. You’re not likely to find a performance of Tchaikovsky’s famous suite until at least November, but it’s never too early for sugar plum fairies to dance in your head.

Russian v. French Ballerinas
Tchaikovsky composed for Russian ballerinas, but ballet is an international art. The earliest precursors to modern ballet were extravagant performances in Renaissance Italy. But Russian and French ballet dancers garner more attention and worldwide renown than their counterparts. Naturally, ballet enthusiasts disagree over which nation produces the “best” ballet dancers. But experts insist it’s a matter of taste.

Most can settle on one major difference between the Russian and French ballet schools. In France more emphasis is placed on footwork, but Russian dancers are known for the port de bras, or the work of the arms. Ballet lovers joke that the ideal ballerina has French legs with a Russian head and arms. International indeed.

Becoming a Ballet Buff
When you’re feeling adventurous, ask a date or a friend to join you at your local theatre for the next performance. Before going, read about the story the ballet is telling. If you understand the meaning behind the choreography you’ll enjoy the show so much more.

Dinner out is one treat we’ll never part with. And dinner and a movie is a tired tradition. But dinner and the ballet? Swoon.