Last night, Maggie and I went to see the American Ballet Theater perform Whipped Cream.
When we planned a trip to NYC, I thought we'd see the New York City Ballet. I thought maybe we'd catch a performance of Jewels or another of Balanchine's masterpieces.
I'd never heard of Whipped Cream. I didn't know a whole lot about the American Ballet Theater, other than Misty Copeland's name and the fact that my own ballet teacher thinks their work is the best in the United States.
With this as my backdrop, I purchased tickets, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.
Honestly, I didn't know what to expect. Would I love it? Would it be boring? Would Maggie love it, or would she get fidgety and sullen? One never knows with a teenager.
Maggie and I recently went to watch the Bolshoi on screen at a local movie theater, and though we both enjoyed it, we weren't enraptured.
So it was when we put on our best dresses and headed to the Metropolitan Opera for ABT's Whipped Cream.
Readers - it was amazing.
I don't meant that in the superfluous way the word 'amazing' is being used today (when someone's make up is amazing, or the latest latte art is amazing). I mean it in the actual definition of the word: startlingly impressive.
From the costumes to the set production to the actual performances (Misty Copeland was among the dancers), the entire performance left us feeling like we were walking on air.
For two hours, Maggie and I forgot where we were; everything outside of those walls seemed to fall into a backdrop of life, and we were right there, in that moment, watching the performance and transported to a truly magical world of on-point technique and charming flair.
It was really a wonderful experience.
During the intermission, Maggie turned to me and said, "This is so much fun it makes my phone seem boring."
Could there be higher praise from a teen?
I thought of all of this as we walked back to our hotel. The arts are often the first programs to be cut in a continual battle to fund our schools and extracurricular activities. Taking Maggie to ballet classes is time consuming and expensive, and I've given up some of my own hobbies to ensure she's able to do that.
As a writer, I believe in the power of the arts and in the belief that all of the money in the world doesn't matter if there isn't some texture to life, some beauty in it, some creative force driving it.
Maybe I feel this way because writing has, in some ways, saved me.
But Picasso believed it too, and his expression of why the arts matter says it better than any other I've heard:
That is exactly what Maggie and I felt last night - that the performance, watching those beautiful dancers express so much emotion and mirth, washed away the dust of everyday life.
This makes me want to add more of the arts into our lives and to support, in whatever way I can, the making and creating of art in its many forms.
We're off to see more of the city.