I went to the ballet today and it was absolutely amazing. The last time I saw the ballet was when I was super young and went on a field trip to the nutcracker but when I saw that there was a Sarajevo Ballet Festival going on I figured that I should probably go. Last week they did Romeo and Juliet to Radiohead- I wasn’t able to go but my friend Adam (who doesn’t particularly like ballet) said it was amazing. This one wasn’t done to Radio Head- I can’t remember if it was a Russian or Serbian group that put on the performance but it was SO well choreographed and simply mind blowing. I really hadn’t realized how much I liked ballet until tonight.
The ballet opened with the character of the Narrator (who also played Juliet’s maid) doing extremely complex and technical body movement that showcased the sheer strength of her body. I think that’s why I was initially so drawn to liking the performance, because you could just see the strength and beauty of her body. It was the same with each performer, which ended up really making me appreciate the sheer movement of a human body in a way I hadn’t. Additionally, even the act of MOVEMENT of a body can be such a highly political thing (as well as a politically informative thing), especially in dance, which I think its why I think a lot of cultures rest on dance and movement as a place of release.
The other thing I kept thinking about during the ballet was how much communication was possible without using any words. Being here and not knowing the language, I’ve started to really appreciate other forms of communication, often through performative dimensions in both the personal and more public arena. Shortly after the ballet I went to go meet up with a couple of Bosnian friends of mine who were all speaking in Bosnian and one of the boys was telling a story about Hookah yet I could tell a lot of what he was saying because everyone was really into it and he was really animated in his performance of telling the story. But the performance of language on a day to day level fascinates me.
The same went for some of the poems I saw last week in the international poetry festival when I couldn’t understand them which is one of the many elements that makes spoken word so amazing. This old Bosnian man and I were talking and he managed to piece together that I was a poet even though he spoke no English and I spoke no Bosnian and then he asked me to do a poem, which I did. It was really cool to like suddenly perform a poem in the middle of a city and know that language, which is what writing is all about, ceases to matter in poetry and what does is the tonal and body performance.
Im really excited for my project. Also, the Sarajevo Theater Festival is this weekend!