Sir Frederick Ashton’s “Cinderella”

I saw this ballet version of Cinderella recently and I have some thoughts:

1. It’s good to know that the “British humour” advertized for this performance equates to cross-dressing stepsisters.
2. This fairy godmother calls on the fairies of the seasons to help her out, each of which appear with pages holding seasonal items. These pages are played by young boys and the autumn page holding a sheaf of wheat looked so numb and “whatever-I’m holding a sheaf of wheat, symbol of plenty, and yet I am hungry”-It was hilarious.
3. These seasonal fairies and the star fairies, also called upon to help Cinderella, all enter the ball with the heroine. Yet, everyone at court takes this as totally normal.
4. None of the other girls, not even the stepsisters, have any interest in the prince in this show. I found this very odd and have decided that these things mean that in this country the royal family has an ongoing arrangement with the fairy godmother to find the worthiest girl in all the land to wed each prince when he comes of age. Courtiers are absolutely off-limits as that would mess up the internal power dynamics of the country and pit the various aristocrats against one another and therefore, all the rich ladies at the ball already know the prince can’t marry them, he’s going to marry whatever girl shows up with fairies. As for the stepsisters, they were just distracted by…
5. THE FACT THAT NAPOLEON AND THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON ATTENDED THE BALL!
6. They must just like men in uniform.
7. I assume the country where this Cinderella takes place must be Andorra.
8. Both of these men are surprisingly good sports for that night.
9. That court jester, who wasn’t even the ordinary ballet dancer playing the jester on the night I saw it, was amazing! He jumped So High and had great chemistry with his jester head stick.
10. Whereas every other version of Cinderella I’ve seen has led me to believe that Cinderella’s slippers failed to disappear at midnight because the fairy godmother cared about her happiness, this rendition felt different. This time it seemed that the fairy allowed Cinderella to believe all would be lost, or remain as a memory in a slipper, primarily so that Cinderella would appreciate the prince more. After all, worthy or not, that doesn’t mean a girl will automatically fall in love with a guy, even if he’s a prince who everyone pushes you toward at the ball. The whole midnight/slipper ploy seems like this fairy’s way to cement the love connection on Cinderella’s side just as much as on the prince’s.
11. It was a lovely night!

February Thoughts

1. This morning I went out into the world and found it a winter wonderland of white, where every twig stood out beautifully coated with snow….all just waiting to plop down on you, except for the places where the snow was already showering down in spots. Beware those who think just because the sun is out means their heads don’t need to be covered! It was quite a thing.

2. My work computer continually informed me that I was creating records at 7 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, 1969. Clearly, I have become a time-traveler and the computer’s slowness is simply a sign it’s compiling energy for our next adventure!

3. I know I’m late to the game on this, but I need people to stop citing the way Plushenko’s coach got cameramen to emphasize Evgeni’s distress and back scars as a reason to think it was all a scheme. Your top and only skater pulls out-in a homeland Olympics-in Russia-of COURSE you immediately do everything in your power to emphasize the reasons why he couldn’t go on and how it’s a real injury. That’s not premeditation, that’s just good sense. Evgeni Plushenko is the Tsar on Ice-you don’t just expect people to watch him retire and not try to explain why as much as you possibly can, even if it’s just for fans, and Evgeni’s got the government to deal with, too.

4. This February seems to be lasting a long time. *eyebrow raise*

Shirley Temple Dies at 85

Shirley Temple Black, Screen Darling, Dies at 85 – NYTimes.com.

The link not only talks about Shirley Temple’s death, but gives an encapsulated biography that includes not only her film and political successes, but also several anecdotes and more nuanced experiences of her life. For example:

“After winning an honorary Academy Award at the age of 6 and earning $3 million before puberty, Shirley Temple grew up to be a level-headed adult. When her cancerous left breast was removed in 1972, at a time when operations for cancer were shrouded in secrecy, she held a news conference in her hospital room to speak out about her mastectomy and to urge women discovering breast lumps not to “sit home and be afraid.” She is widely credited with helping to make it acceptable to talk about breast cancer.”

Hats off to you, Shirley. Thank you for showing everyone that even the most iconic little girl could grow up into a tough and intelligent diplomat more than capable of holding her own as an adult:

“When she was appointed ambassador to Ghana in 1974, some career diplomats were outraged, but State Department officials later conceded that her performance was outstanding…Mrs. Black succeeded beyond almost everyone’s expectations, winning praise during her three years in Prague from, among others, Henry Kissinger, who called her “very intelligent, very tough-minded, very disciplined.” Although she may always be best remembered as America’s sweetheart, the woman who left the screen at 22 saying she had “had enough of pretend” ended up leaving a considerable mark on the real world.”

Divorce Rate Cut in Half for Couples Who Discussed Relationship Movies

Divorce Rate Cut in Half for Couples Who Discussed Relationship Movies : Top Headlines : MD Connects.

Hah! This study which says that couples that simply took the time to discuss the relationships in movies a few times a month lowered their divorce rate just as far as couples that take anger management or couples therapy type workshops (which were much more time consuming) makes me very happy. It means that watching movies and discussing the couples in them as if they’re real people isn’t just hanging out or a distraction from what you’re supposed to be doing-it is highly important relationship work! We absolutely must take time out for couple movies! I like anything that makes movie-watching sound productive, but this makes them almost essential. Go forth and have movie nights.

“Aurora’s Year”

The swell of newness
Fills like a new dawn
And spirals out and away as life stretches through each day

New rises like an Aurora,
Who may sleep through her dreams
Or puncture them,
Or even face the cold stone face of death,
But even in these fates there is beauty and there may be magic.

Bright and sharp as a briar rose,
The dawn shows ways to care
And ensures us surprises, both royal and small.

For life congregates like a ball, every so often,
And others come together round you, from far and wide
And all we may do is smile or pass the time dreaming,
But we know these friends as we don’t know our fates,
And we taste these magics of games, lights, and fun,
As the colors and shapes of our wishes keep changing.

These storied times when newness meets old,
Keep us spinning round and get our stories told.
We’re free to walk in dreams and know futures that may or may not come to pass,
To put old cares to sleep and reunite our true loves,
To replace the steps and trod no more spindles,
But spin us the wheel and breathe in the life it kindles.

So christen this day, with its precious gift
And let no one deny you any change you can lift,
For any dance in this year can bring you to joy, so long as you step into the dawn and you try.

Serenity and good energy go with you in 2014.

Reasons “Frozen” Rocks

I finally got to see Disney’s “Frozen” and I love it! This is the kind of empowering movie that “Brave” claimed to be and fell short of!

elsa-disney-frozen-hd-wallpaper

SAFE-TO-READ Reasons Why:

1. It’s gorgeous. Even with obviously disproportional heads, eyes, etc., Disney has mastered this newer style of animation. Paired with the spectacular visuals of Elsa’s ice creations, this is pure eye candy.
2. The characters not only are complex, but the entire movie owns those nuances, bringing out more and more reasons to invest in these protagonists as it goes along instead of trying to smooth everything neatly into a tidy ending box.
3. The music! The last few movies Disney made caused me to wonder if they’d forgotten how important their soundtracks are to making things compelling, but clearly they have remembered! I almost cried at the end of “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?”
4. They actually came up with a good reason to have a goofy, talking snowman running around. I’m impressed.
5. This is a fairy tale treatment that explores the real folklore material of “The Snow Queen” and comes up with a valid interpretation, rather than simply turning it on its head in one simple way like through modernization or completely reversing the blame.
6. Even the comic relief characters have wisdom and a level of emotional resonance.
7. Romance was important, but put nicely in its place.
8. There is a credit for “Caffeination” with only one name-”Carlos Buenavidos”, aka “Carlos Good Life.”

Long live the Queen!

Disney Family Time

As many people will be reuniting with family members soon for the holidays, let’s take a look at how these reunions could be just like a Disney fairy tale. Disney movies offer a lot of advice about this topic, but it may or may not be worth anything.

Disney Family Reunion Tips:

1. Bring a sword.
2. Get a private train car.
3. It’s okay to argue over pets.
4. It’s totally okay to ignore your family for a guy.
5. Don’t bring up any legal matters, like contracts.
6. Don’t try to sell anybody on anything.
7. Bring your own cup.
8. Realize there’s probably a long distance between you and parental approval.
9. Don’t get stuck in bottles of alcohol.
10. It’s helpful to build a fire.

(20 points for every reference.)

Here’s hoping your holidays need no such advice.

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