I cried at the ballet this evening. It was a wonderful evening of Jerome Robbins pieces, and in spite of my best efforts, I was totally moved by one of the ballets.
The evening started Fancy Free, an "aw shucks" dance full of WWII enthusiasm with three Navy Boys on the town, and two, then three women who become the second half of the sexual chemical equation that the scene is based on (although the chumminess of the boys bespeaks another aspect of sexual attraction - especially in the Navy). It was enjoyable, but did not make me cry.
The second Robbins piece was In the Night, a series of three pas de deux that is almost ethereal in its affect. I've seen this piece before, and the second and third times have been just as refreshing and engaging as the first. Delightful, but it didn't make me cry.
It was the West Side Story Suite that made me cry. It happened after the "death scene" when Tony cries "Maria!" and suddenly the stage's darkness is awash with light and a not-quite-setting sun. I cried, and when it was all over, I thought to myself, "What was that all about?" When I remember the sixties, and this particular piece (the movie) it's more than a date with Roxanne Lindenmeier, or Denver, or having chocolate and pastries at the Brown Palace hotel. No, I think it was about hope and ambition, Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins (gay heroes, most assuredly), the promise of the future, and the ballet's hopeful ending (The Jets and the Sharks honor each other).
Our world, our time, is so caustic, and drenched with a cynicism born in Iraq, and Crawford, Texas, that anything that even whispers hope, forgiveness, and a bright future, is game for a tear or two. Life was what was ahead, not what had been wasted or passed by.
It also made me think of all those gay men and women who have offered their art, their music, their dance, their writing, their painting, their sculpture, their poems, their lives to adoring audiences, only to have the very basis of their lives torn to shreds by a public that can't think beyond a King James' Bible.
So Leonard Bernstein and Gertrude Stein, pray for us. Jerome Robbins and Saint John, the beloved disciple, pray for us. Vita Sackville-West and Jon Rollins, pray for us. We could use it!
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