Swan Lake My Ass
Not your typical ballet venue. Not a good ballet venue.
I am seething. Livid. Really really angry. I don't usually vent and I don't usually let things fester, I am "Little Mary Sunshine" after all, finding the positive in just about any situation but I am ticked to the max! Last night was supposed to be a beautiful cultural event, the National Ballet of Cuba came to Cancun to perform "Swan Lake". You may or may not know that I grew up dancing, 24 years of training including going to university for Fine Arts Dance. It was my life, my love and my passion. When I learned that the ballet was coming to town I could not wait to share it with Max!
Max and I talked about the story of Swan Lake, discussed proper behaviour in a theater and I gave him an idea of the beauty that he was going to witness. I told him about how ballet dancers train and some of the moves he would see. All was well, we left early in order to get there early and peruse the program and get settled.
From this point on, disaster. The event was taking place at the Poliforum, a fifteen minute drive from my house. Normally a fifteen minute drive. We got on the access road to the highway and stopped. Dead. Not moving. I thought it might just be a short delay, but two hours later I discovered how wrong I was. TWO. HOURS. Stopped on the highway with a five year old in the back seat watching the clock, starting to cry when it was time for the ballet to start and we were still stuck in traffic. Normally when I embark on a fifteen minute drive, I don't think about bringing supplies. A two hour drive I would have brought a bottle of water and some cookies, a game for Max, a book or two. Two hours normally gets me to Tulum, not around the corner.
When we finally made it up to where the Poliforum was, we saw the police (and the army), they had decided that it was a great time and place to set up a road block. Gee, 6000 people going to an event, you would think they would try to assist traffic, not make it worse. We got onto the access road to the Poliforum and were stopped. Again. Cars were coming out the other way telling us that there was no place to park and they were leaving. I couldn't turn around so just kept following the bumper in front of me. When we got almost to the end, some enterprising fellows from the lot next door opened up their gate and started charging people to park. I paid, we walked the distance to the stadium and made our way in. We had left the house at 5:45 and it was now 7:45. Show was supposed to start at 7. I HATE being late for artistic performances, but at least I wasn't alone. Hundreds of others were coming in at the same time.
When we got in there were no ushers, no staff to tell us where to go, nobody checked our tickets. We finally asked a cop where to go and he shrugged in a general direction. There were no programs to be found anywhere (I love theater programs!) We found our way to the general area "C" only to discover there were no seats. We hung out on the stairs, behind a railing, behind a piece of scenery, watching ballet-slippered feet go by and seeing the occasional butt in tights. That lasted about ten minutes before they called for an intermission. We desperately tried to get a bottle of water, but the chaos at the concessions pushed us back (well, people pushed us) and we had to get back to our "seats" without any refreshments. The highlight was the bathroom line moved quickly and the toilet paper guy smiled.
Our view of the stage
I scooted around section "C" looking for anywhere with a better view and again settled on the stairs, behind a light stand and speaker, directly to the side of the stage. Ballet (at least classical ballet) is choreographed to be seen from the front, it's not theater in the round. So, I saw a lot of nothing, got a sore butt on the concrete steps and when Max finally said "Mommy I want to go" at 9:00, I was more than happy to leave. We saw maybe 1/2 hour of dance (from the side between the light poles) and the dancers appeared to be good (it was kind of hard to tell from where we were).
One of my biggest complaints about living in Cancun is the lack of culture. Here we had a perfect opportunity to experience something wonderful, but due to poor organization and the rotten design of the Poliforum, it was a train wreck. I think the city should be truly ashamed. It was embarrassing. A friend is telling me that my expectations were too high, but really, I had tickets to see the ballet, I expected to see the ballet, I don't think that's asking for too much!
Ok, taking my rage elsewhere, thanks for reading my vent (if you got this far)......