Saturday Night at the Ballet in Madrid

jardin-infinito-ballet-teatro-real-madrid-2010.jpgLast night I went to the ballet in Madrid, performed by the Compañía Nacional de Danza with artistic director Nacho Duato. The Teatro Real was not sold-out on this cold, clear night but nonetheless was well-attended by both young and old alike, some wore furs, dresses, and high heals while others were in jeans, t-shirts, and tennis shoes. Several men wore suits – or simply blazers and button down shirts and jeans like me.

It was 2 part performance but the principal part was the second, “El Jardín Infinito” or “The Infinite Garden“, a 65-minute homage to the Russian writer, playwright, and physician Anton Chekhov on the 150th anniversary of his birth. This came after the 20-minute break – which was probably a good idea. Passages of “Antón Chéjov” (as is his name in Spanish) were read a times as were one-word comments throughout the part – and all in Russian. No subtitles were given and so I, and no-doubt the audience, was left wondering what was being related to the dance.

The first part, “Rassemblement”, was a 25 minute dance collection to traditional slave songs by Haitian Toto Bissainthe, all dedicated to her homeland. Styles of dance included those obviously of African descent. Songs were those by slaves sung in voodoo rituals, telling of suffering and exile from Africa – not as a geographical place but of a land of freedom.

The contemporary dancing in both parts was excellent and expert. That was clear. But that of “El Jardín Infinito” was considerably more cold, barren, and far less emotional than that of “Rassemblement“. But we really shouldn’t compare the two but consider them unto themselves. For me, I would’ve preferred 65 minutes of “Rassemblement” and 25 minutes of “El Jardín Ininito” – but that’s just me.

The evening got better AFTER the ballet – which is unfortunate to say. A Spaniard and I went to the beautiful “Taberna del Alabardero” next to the Teatro Real for some canapés, then to “La Taberna de las Tres Manolas” for pinxtos, and finally to “Toma Jamón” on the Plaza de Ramales for wine and croquetas.

In all, we had a good time and it was nice to be in downtown Madrid on a cold, clear night around the beautiful Teatro Real and the Plaza de Oriente gardens.

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2 Responses to Saturday Night at the Ballet in Madrid

  1. Jennifer says:

    We will be visiting Madrid for the first time later this month, and have tickets to see an opera at Teatro Real. You mention a wide range of dress for the ballet performance. What’s the most common dress for Saturday evening performances? What should a 30-something American couple wear to avoid standing out while being realistic about suitcase space?

    • MadridMan says:

      Saturday evening Opera performances are those where people dress their best. Men often wear suits and ties or at least a sport jacket with a nice shirt. One could get away with a long-sleeved, button down collared shirt, pants, and leather shoes. Women should wear dresses or nice pants and a shirt with heals. Weeknight or Sunday morning opera performances tend to be much more casual. Enjoy!

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