It’s dark out. My mom’s hand is tight in mine. My patent (p)leather shoes tic-tack on the pavement of the New York City sidewalk. At this time of night, all the streets look the same: wary, hiding, ominous.
Between two looming building, we turn. Open before me is a plaza centered around a circular fountain blossoming with timed water displays, patrons in dark and clicking shoes, and columns regally flanking the Lincoln Center square.
From the time I was about 7-years old, my mom took me with her to the New York City Ballet. She’d long since realized that my dad was only going to snore through the performance, so she needed a date for the other season-long ticket. Though I quit ballet around that time (it was more fun to “cut” with the preacher’s daughter, leaving the basement class where my cohort was now on pointe–but I was too young for it–and go across the street to the candy store, or raid the church’s kitchen for snacks), the lusciousness of the art was not lost on me.
The Christmas tree rising majestically out of the stage of the Nutcracker, the stilted mechanics of movement of the marionette-like Coppelia, the tightening swarm of sound as the Swan plunged to her death.
For long, I’ve loved what is considered “high culture,” and in my cash-poor 20s, it was recommended that I volunteer usher at the San Francisco Ballet, which I promptly begun to do. Ballet for the cost of greeting people in fine clothing and pointing toward marble-laced restrooms. But I moved to Oakland a decade ago, and the commute to a free ballet became too costly.
Enter the present. Wherein, over the last year, I’ve identified “The 4 Pillars of My Life Need” (yes, that high-fallutin):
Input: (Spark) Intellect; (Have) Adventure;
Output: (Share) Self-Expression; (Create) Beauty.
Attending the ballet, or symphony, or latest Marvel movie(!) is adventure for me. It fires my intellect and imagination, and enables me to fill that well so often depleted by demands of quotidian life.
The delight experienced by that 7-year old in her black velvet dress and opaque white tights has never dimmed, only been shunned for aching periods of time. So, tonight, across from the San Francisco Opera House, my bf and I will tic-tack into Davies Symphony Hall to be graced and inspired by the orchestra underscoring West Side Story, and Natalie Wood and Rita Moreno will dance my imagination into flight.