Swan Lake Ballet in St. Petersburg

After a long month of living out of a suitcase, I was finally able to doff the jeans and sweater and don the dress and tights. We were going to Swan Lake in Russia, my first time in a theater, and thrilled would be the least expressive of my emotions! Micah, on the other hand, was plodding along like a soldier after a weary day, only going for a treat of ice-cream after the performance was over.

The weather outside was foggy and gloomy, but my spirits were high. Would there be an orchestra in addition to the ballet?! I couldn’t wait to see!

Mikhailovsky Theater was only a five minutes walk from our apartment, and once we entered, I was met by a bustling crowd of well-dressed people, all cramming toward the cloak room to get rid of their coats before the ballet began.

Luckily, my family had gained lots of experience dodging and squeezing by people in crowded museums, so we dropped off our coats in no time and hurried to our seats.

Imagine my delight when I discovered we had a whole box to ourselves, just like in the olden days! I sat in my seat in rapture, absorbing the beautiful theater that was a shining glow of golden.

The box where the royal family used to sit…but it’s off limits now.
A beautiful mural on the ceiling, to top everything off in a lovely show of luxury

Suddenly, the lights dimmed, and I held my breath in excitement. My eyes were fixed on the orchestra, complete with a harpist! I love instruments, but the graceful, elegant harp is one of the most beautiful.

The performance went beyond my expectation. It started with a mysterious introduction by the orchestra, but my eyes jumped to the stage as the curtains suddenly swung open to reveal skipping ballerinas and their partners.

I sat stock still the whole time, admiring the detailed costumes and talented dancers. How could they look so swan-like, and stay in the same uncomfortable positions for so long? Ballerinas look delicate, but they are full of unbelievable strength that many don’t give them credit for.

They really do look like swans…elegant necks and all.

At first, Micah was bored to death with the whole thing, but he was reasonable when I told him the plot of the story Swan Lake. He was more than reasonable when, at the end, Prince Siegfried killed the evil sorcerer, Rothbart, by yanking his wing off. Rothbart then stumbled around the stage, and in a dramatic defeat, collapsed to the floor, his broken wing ‘hidden’ behind his back the whole time. The audience burst into laughter, Micah most of all.

The performance was highly satisfactory, and everyone left happy. I hummed the beautiful melodies, my parents chatted, and Micah was positively jubilant.

“Can we get ice-cream?”

“It’s eleven at night.”


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