When Rich and I lived in Oregon, we attended quite a few cultural events, primarily plays. It was fairly easy to get downtown and parking was somewhat plentiful.
After moving to Austin, we tried a handful of companies and settled on regularly attending plays at Arts on Real and Gilbert & Sullivan operettas and musical events. For the most part, we made excuses for staying indoors (air conditioned) and not fighting the traffic.
When we moved back to the Pacific Northwest, I wanted to get back into attending plays and musical events. Like Austin, however, the drive to downtown is considerable and wrought with heavy traffic. Nevertheless, attending cultural events is worth the effort.
Several months ago, I noticed an advertisement for the Laugh Out Loud Festival hosted by the Pacific Northwest Ballet. It sounded like a fun program and a great way to
introduce Rich to ballet. I’ve taken years of ballet at a kid and seen several ballets at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angles so I’m familiar with dance.
While a bit skeptical, Rich agreed to go. The program was exceptional! And McCaw Hall in Seattle’s Queen Anne district was impressive – large, but not intimidating with 2,900 seats and an enormous dark red curtain with bits of sparkles.
On Saturday, we signed up to see All Robbins, featuring three pieces choreographed by Jerome Robbins. Robbins is best known for choreographing the Broadway shows West Side Story, The King and I, Gypsy, Fiddler on the Roof, and Peter Pan. He also has an extensive repertoire of classical ballets.
We weren’t disappointed. All three pieces were amazing, including Fancy Free. Of course, the Pacific Northwest Ballet is one of the top companies in the country so the dancing, lighting and costumes were spectacular. Afterwards was a question and answer session with the artistic director, Peter Boal and one of the dancers.
Waiting for the talk to begin, Rich and I made small talk and I mentioned that we should also see a full-length ballet with a "pas de deux" (French for "dance for two"). I mispronounced it — not that I really know how to pronounce it correctly– as "pot of doo."
As the words spilled out, I realized what I said. Rich paused for a moment then started laughing. I followed. Uncontrollably.
There we sat in a room of society people waiting for Peter Boal to show up and struggling to control our laughter and squelch the voice in our heads that kept repeating, pot of doo, pot of doo!!
Mercilessly, after a moment or two, the humor passed and we were able to appear somewhat civilized. Good thing because it was fascinating to hear Peter talk about studying at the School of American Ballet in New York City when he was nine. He was the prince in the Nutcracker with the New York City Ballet when he was eleven, having learned the part from the great choreographer George Balanchine. He also worked with Jerome Robbins and Peter Martins and retired from the New York City Ballet in 2005, after dancing and teaching for 22 years.