Macaulay Seminar One at Brooklyn College
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Category — Dance/The Body/Sport

Tutus & Ballet Slippers [11.7.13]

I haven’t had much experience with ballet except taking it for half a year and quitting because I was terrible, and watching The Nutcracker every year in middle school as our school trip. Nonetheless, it was always something that I loved to watch and wished I could do.

The first part was my most favorite and it was probably because it epitomized my childhood dream of becoming a Disney princess. The couple dances made it so romantic and their formation transitions were on point. Their tutus started looking like pizzas to me, but maybe it was because I wasn’t able to eat prior to the performance. I was expecting to love the second one because of the story line, but it honestly didn’t do much for me. It was slightly difficult to distinguish who the characters were in the beginning. I’m still not sure who the other woman is that was angry at the lady for having an affair with the lady’s husband’s colleague. Despite how unclear it was, the dancing was equally as great as the first. The last part I was pretty neutral about– the contrasting colors and more modern approach was great but I had no idea that the stars and crescent moons were supposed to represent communism. For the last two, I think reading the background behind them would’ve made it a lot more enjoyable to watch.

I have to admit, this wasn’t my most favorite experience. Although the dancers have great talent, after a while it seemed to all be the same to me. Especially since ballet has a set index of moves and such. But this will definitely not be my last ballet! 🙂

December 15, 2013   No Comments

Sculptures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Often times, when I attend an arts event, such as those part of the Macaulay Seminar, I rarely feel the art for arts purpose. I know that statement doesn’t make any sense, so I’m gonna try and explain. When I am required to attend an arts event, I never seem to enjoy myself. I always feel as if they are a hassle, an annoyance. After many of these events, I started to dislike the arts, which scared me when I came to that realization.

I wanted to figure out whether I truly disliked art, or rather, I disliked being forced to see, hear, or feel art. I truly appreciate art; I have since my senior year of high school, when I was exposed to a lot of it. Therefore, I decided to head down to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, just myself, to decide whether I still had an affinity towards the art world. I decided to go by myself, because I didn’t want any distractions. I didn’t want to discuss pieces of art and try to explain what I saw, because I felt as if the purpose of art is to feel it and enjoy it, not justify that feeling to others.

My favorite section at the Met was the Greek and Roman statues. These statues have always fascinated me; I don’t know why. I liked how they were amazingly realistic, and embodied the power, the gentleness, and wrath, and evil, of man, and woman. All these emotions, carved into stone, made them so relatable, as if I knew these people in my own life. It was an amazing, powerful, an overwhelming feeling. I spent the next hour just walking around and around that section, looking at all the statues, admiring the craftsmanship, the attention to detail, and just the feelings that I created in me.

I then head down to the American sculptures, which were all recreations of historical and mythological figures done by sculptors in the 1800s. Here, I wasn’t as blown away as I once was. Perhaps this was because I felt that these artists were mere copycats, doing something that had already been done before. Their works weren’t as grand or as powerful as the works of old were, at least to me. These newer pieces of work were far to polished, and almost perfect, as opposed to those I had seen before. The ancient Greek works truly depicted the human body, with curves, and muscular tones, and posture, all of which gave them a sense of life; not so with the American ones. There was no realism in them. They looked, essentially fake to me, a terrible attempt at reviving at olden days.

Looking at these two sections for hours on end at day, I felt satisfaction. I had truly enjoyed myself. Studying the human body encased in stone, I felt a sense of….I don’t know, something, that I cannot fully describe, or yet understand. There was power in those works, a power that I never really got from anything else I’ve seen so far. I’m still trying to understand what I saw, and felt when I saw the sculptures. Maybe it was the fact that they were three dimensional pieces, giving them a sense of realness. Perhaps it was the poses each statue struck, or the emotions I felt from each one, that stuck with me. I don’t know.

December 8, 2013   No Comments

American Ballet Theatre Performance: A Wonderful Night

I was looking forward to attending the American Ballet Theatre performance on Thursday night. Even though I had attended ballets before, this one was different from the ones I had attended before for numerous reasons. I learned that the ballet was subdivided into three ballets, and I became even more excited because the ballets I attended before were long and depicted a single story. Moreover, the music of Tchaikovsky, Chopin, and Shostakovich was always something I enjoyed listening to. Furthermore, the physical abilities, fluidity, and gracefulness of the ballet dance art are unlike anything else in the world. Not only do these dancers dedicate their whole lives to this perfection, but they also perform unparalleled things with their body while on stage.

The first performance was something that I enjoyed and expected. It was a classic portrayal of a ballet, with the classical music, typical choreography, “traditional” costumes consisting of tutus and tights. Although the beginning of the first third was something that I found to be archetypal of a ballet, the end of the first third, when all the dancers emerged onto the stage and danced in perfect synchronization was something I thoroughly enjoyed.

The set of the second third of the performance was amazing. The details of the set and the amount of time and effort that probably went into making it were evident. The costumes, set, and the story as a whole fit well together and even though I did enjoy watching it, the third and final part of the performance definitely took my breath away.

Finally, the last third of the performance was probably my favorite. The contrasting colors of the scenery and the body suits, along with the way that they flowed together fluidly as the performers danced was impeccably done. It was unlike anything I had ever seen performed before. While the first portion of the ballet can be compared to soldiers being completely in-sync with one another as they marched, the third part of the ballet can be compared to a more modernized and interesting art form.

In conclusion, I thoroughly enjoyed the night and the American Ballet Theatre performance.

November 17, 2013   No Comments

“Ballet Theater”

Going to the American Ballet Theater, aka the “Ballet Theater” for all of us cultured people, was an interesting opportunity. It was also a valuable experience for me because I don’t think I would have otherwise ended up at a ballet just for the sake of going to enjoy myself. I love going to theaters, museums, memorials, and exhibits in my free time, but it never occurred to me that dance is also a highly appreciated form of art.

Part one of the ballet was what I imagined the entire performance would be like. All of the stereotypical elements were there-the tutus, men in tights, and poised dance moves. I wasn’t as impressed as I thought I would be. Given that our threshold for appreciation of the body and its capabilities has been set so high due to all of the crazy extreme sports and events we are exposed to, I found the first third of the performance rather boring.

However, when the curtains opened for the second part, my breath was taken away by the intricacy and complexity of the new set. I loved watching that entire portion of the performance tie together so beautifully. It was just like watching a play but without any words! I never knew it was possible to be so emotionally absorbed in somebody else’s dance moves.

The third part of the ballet was also pretty good. I didn’t like it as much as the second, but after we read the critics’ reviews in class I developed a newfound appreciation for that third of what we saw. I enjoyed toying around with the idea that every detail of the performance related back to Soviet Russia’s authority (the two colored bodysuits, the red objects hanging from the scenery, the music, the dance moves, etc.).

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed our night!

November 16, 2013   No Comments


Seeing the ballet was so cool! I had already been to one when I went to France, a production of Don Quixote outside of the Musee Matisse in Nice. That was awesome, so I was excited to see ABT, one of the best dance companies. I was definitely not disappointed. The dancers were graceful, swift, and almost poetic. I think seeing this production in particular was nice for someone like me who isn’t too well acquainted with ballet; the three different pieces kept my attention. Of the three, I didn’t have a favorite. I thought the story of the second was hard to follow, though I loved the dancing of the son, and the dramatized emotions of the dancers. The first one was classic ballet, which is always easy (for me) to appreciate. The coordinations of the couples in the first ballet were superb; everyone was miraculously exactly where they were supposed to be. The third ballet was awesome as well. I liked the set and the costumes; they were both simple. Besides the two lead ballerinas wearing red, all the other dancers were in red and gray leotards; red in the front, gray in the back. This allowed the dancers to play with the colors, spinning the ballerinas in such a way as to create a checkerboard pattern between red and gray. Though this third piece lacked a story, it was still great. Overall, I really enjoyed ABT and would go again.

November 15, 2013   No Comments