Ballet by the Water

Tonight I am going meet my friend Lav and we are going down to Harbourfront Centre to see Ballet by the Water. It is a yearly event in which the National Ballet of Canada puts on a free show for the public – outdoors. I’ve heard of it and am really, really happy that I get to go (and even happier that I don’t have to go alone – Lav rocks!). They are not performing an entire ballet but will perform selections from a number of different shows. Two are premieres, the others are from this seasons shows.

When I was in elementary school we had to read a biography of a famous person and do a book report on them. I think they have to be Canadian but I’m not positive. There were a bunch of books and we had to chose from them. I chose Karen Kain – and yes, at least in part because her name was the same as mine. But she was also a dancer. I had always wanted to take dance lesson – or piano lessons, or figure skating lessons, etc. The only lessons that I ever took as a kid were swimming lessons and well, if you live on a island and it’s kinda stupid *not* to teach your children how to swim right? We were too poor for anything else (or as Oprah would say – We were so poor we were just po’).

So I picked that book about Karen Kain. And I read about how when she was little girl she loved dancing and was accepted to the National Ballet School and how she came to be Canada’s prima ballerina.

But what fascinated me most was that she was a geeky little girl. She didn’t feel overly pretty. And not only did she have to wear braces she had to wear HEADGEAR! She struggled with people liking her.
In other words – she was a normal little girl. She was just like the rest of us. She wasn’t some fruffy spoiled perfect little princess. She was REAL.

Since then I’ve always loved the ballet. I was just a kid when I read that book but it taught me that those dancers on the stage worked their asses off to get there. Yeah, some of them probably are the spoiled little rich girls. But some of them are just like you and me – only they were lucky enough to get dance lessons and talented and determined enough to succeed at it.

After I read the book it became a goal in life to see Karen Kain perform live. I was able to see her on tv in a couple of performances (as Alice in Alice and Wonderland and possibly in Romeo and Juliet…) Unfortunately she retired before that ever happened. But she’s hosting tonight as part of her role as the National Ballet of Canada’s artistic director. So she’ll still be there. And I’ll still be seeing her work. So in a sense it’s another goal to check off of my list.

I don't remember the name of the book. But I'm happy I chose it.