It occurred to me that a night at the ballet would be a nice contrast to all the salsa music so got tickets to see Swan Lake. The theatre was on the small side and fairly basic but the seats were comfortable and I had paid the grand sum of £15 for a prime stalls seat. Frankly I can’t remember the last time I sat at the stalls at the opera or the ballet.
I sat next to this elderly Cuban lady who was adorable. We chatted for a good while before the performance started and she confirmed that Cubans pay 15 pence for the same seat I got. Yes, 15 pence for a stalls seat. In any other country, going to the ballet is a luxury, here it is accessible to all. Sure enough, the theatre was full of families with young children that during the performance would every once in a while exclaim “ballerina!” for everyone to hear and lots of teenagers who would chat along the performance but still, they were there, appreciating it all.
Suddenly at the beginning of the second act, a voluptuous blonde wearing a mini dress that left little to the imagination walked from the audience up the steps to the stage. Siegfried having spotted his swan was about to set off in pursuit when he noticed he was not alone. He wasn’t having any of it, so he walked off stage. Mini dress stood alone in the middle of the stage staring towards where Siegfried had just disappeared to. Two of the dancers pirouetted gracefully onto the stage and tried to guide mini dress off it. She wasn’t going anywhere and continued to stand there. The stage went pitch dark as the lights were turned off and I could vaguely make out the stage curtain closing. Seconds later mini dress was running down the steps back towards the audience followed by a backstage guy and four usherettes. They caught up with her half way up the stalls, she grabbed onto one of the seats for dear life and started screaming like a banshee. They were not having any luck prising her from the seat until some muscle from the audience intervened by which time the entire auditorium had its lights full on. Mini dress was escorted outside and the entire theatre burst into applause. The lights were turned off and the second act started again. I can’t remember the last time I laughed as much. It was a night Groucho, Harpo and Chico would have been proud of.