Starry, Starry Night

Andrew: Attending Ballet Under the Stars has always been a dream of Dearie’s. We missed last year’s one due to very unfortunate circumstances which resulted in more unfortunate circumstances which won’t be the focus of this post! The main point is – we finally managed to make it this year!

#1: Stock up on snacks

We hadn’t had a ‘date date’ in a long while, so I was determined to make this a special one for her. Went grocery shopping before the ballet for all of Dearie’s favourite tidbits (chips, Pocky, kinder bueno and mango juice) and of course, no date would be complete without a bouquet of flowers! A bouquet of flowers never fails to bring a smile to Dearie’s face and she was delighted to receive them 🙂

#2: Arrive early to chope a good spot. (Or failing that, bring a couple of sledgehammers to carve out your own niche.)

We had a quick, but really sumptuous dinner at La Nonna before heading down to Fort Canning. We arrived at 7.15p.m. and were really surprised to see Fort Canning Green almost completely packed with many families and Westerners, who always seem to enjoy a good picnic. We didn’t expect that it would be so full or popular!

Jasmine: We had to move a total of four times in order to find a decent spot, because we either couldn’t see the stage, or because our butts kept slipping off the grassy incline.

Andrew: The first place we settled down in was flat ground, but it was too far to the right of the stage, hence a large part of the stage was obscured from our view. We then found a spot further back with a clearer view of the entire stage:

IMG_8734 As you can see, it was getting rather dark by the time the ballet began. I actually managed to take this shot only by manipulating the exposure setting on my digital camera and keeping my hands very very still. We only took one photograph of ourselves at the ballet:

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After a while though, we realise that our second sitting spot had a great disadvantage – it was at a rather steep angle which meant that we had to consciously position ourselves so that we wouldn’t slip downwards. We were gradually ‘sliding’ downwards every 5 minutes during the first ballet piece. Heh. So we moved once again and finally found a spot which was flat and offered a reasonable view of the stage if there was nobody standing up amongst the audience. Heh.  Note to self: Arrive earlier for Ballet Under the Stars in the future.

Not being a ballet person myself, I wasn’t that excited about the performance pieces, but was more drawn to the idea of watching an outdoors performance, which we don’t normally do in Singapore. (Sidetrack: Dearie was mentioning, and I totally agree, that they should bring back drive-in movies in Singapore, or at least outdoor screenings of movies!)

The main drawback of it being an outdoor venue was the potential for distraction and unfortunately, last night was also the National Day Parade preview. The fireworks were extremely distracting as everyone just went ‘Woooahhh’ everytime there was a new ‘burst’ of fireworks in the air to the point that the organisers decided to stall the programme until the fireworks died down. So much for stealing the limelight huh.

There were also some people who obviously hadn’t bought tickets and kept trickling in through one of the pavilions at the side. At one point, an old man sat next to us and rolled up his shirt to ‘cool himself’, exposing his belly. Dearie had an obviously disturbed look on her face (which amused me to no end) and said she felt like she was at my HDB void deck. Heh.

Other than that, however, the setting was lovely. The weather was mercifully cooling yesterday, after almost a whole morning of rain, and the sky was amply cloudy so Dearie and I had fun, just lying down on the ‘picnic mat’ (or rather, the banner we used as a mat) imagining what the various tufts of clouds could represent. We came up with rabbit head, puppy and pig taking a dump. (Jasmine: yes, the last one was my invention.) Heh.

Well, here are my two-cents worth on the various pieces, from the perspective of a layman:

Concerto Barocco: Frankly, I was quite bored by this piece. As a general trend, I found the ensemble pieces rather bland as to me, just a group of dancers mechanically synchronizing their movements. Ah well.

Piano Concerto No 2, Opus 102: There was a duet portion in this piece which really mesmerized me and pulled me into the performance. That was one moment I felt was truly romantic. Ballet is the ultimate expression of chivalry indeed, as the man leads the woman, lifts her up and supports her and I found myself hoping that I was more flexible and able to perform some of these moves. (Fat hope, I know)

Don Quixote pas de deux: Now this was a fun piece of showmanship. It was a piece that really made you go ‘Wow’ as the piece ended off with both the male and female dancer ‘out-pirouetting’ each other. The male won, of course, performing at least 10 pirouettes continuously!

Evening at the Ritz: A great piece to end off, with familiar classics sang by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. It was lovely seeing the dancers twirl in their long, flowy dresses and it was a piece that combined ballet with the sophistication and elegance of ballroom dancing.

Of course, no date would be complete without some photo-taking of our outfits. We went back to the location where a dear friend’s wedding was held last week and snapped some shots outside Gattopardo, an Italian restaurant:

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IMG_8741A random passer-by was very kind and helped us to compose and take the first shot above and of course in the second shot, we have the classic shot that Dearie enjoys taking with almost every bouquet I buy for her. Aww.. 🙂

Jasmine: These high-waisted shorts, which I wear ALL the time, were selected by Andrew as a welcome-home gift after I got back from the UK. He consulted with Mum and Charlene about my size and he got it right!

Andrew: Oh yes, here are some random shots too from Ruth’s wedding last week, which took place at the lawn in front of the Fort Canning hotel: IMG_8656

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We’ve decided to make Ballet Under the Stars an annual event for us, and we’ll come earlier next time to ensure we get a seat on flat ground with a better view of the stage! As for myself, I better start finding out more about ballet so I can make more insightful and intelligent comments when we next blog about it!

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