Yesterday, I saw the Bolshoi Ballet in the Royal Opera House. I've seen some ballet in my time, always had a strange love for both classical and modern dance, thought I'd seen a good show with "Cinderella" a couple months ago.
Well, the Bolshoi makes every other ballet company I've seen look like lumbering idiots. Art can be a deeply spiritual experience. I swear I spaced out watching that, fell into a trance of sheer wonder.
"Spartacus" is so different, too. Martial, raw, testosterone-drenched, which works incredibly well with the famous Bolshoi male dancers (they are quite famous for producing the best male dancers, without matching that quality quite on the female side... I'm not sure I'm quite there yet, the women were fine, Phrygia was heartbreakingly etherial, Aegina imperial and sensuous). The sheer athleticism of the male leads was breathtaking, though. I've never seen anything like it. Quite likely, I never will again.
Art purges the emotions. Shock and awe, running us through the palette of emotion to cleanse us and leave that zen-like glow of peace and harmony with the universe. Sometimes, you just become one. Art to me is the real religion, that group experience of beauty and purity. The Bolshoi got me there, yesterday, and held me there for three hours.
It happens sometimes when I write, or read, when suddenly the universe becomes a place in one's soul, vast and yet entirely mine. And then I completely understand any other artist, too, who devotes his life to get there, and take other people there.
So much grace left me exhausted with beauty. It's that "I could die happy now" feeling.
It also ruined any other ballet for me. After I've seen what it can be like, I'm simply not interested to watch any ballet that's not the Bolshoi or as good as them. And I'm so grateful to have seen them. In terms of birthday presents, this will be very hard to beat.