A day at the ballet / by Jessica Lee

Today was pretty much a perfect day.

I woke up at 9 am. Then I went back to sleep again. And I woke up at 3 pm. (Sorry in advance, not a lot of pictures for this post because I spent the day sleeping)

I sat around for a bit, got ready to go out, then went with my cousin and friends to Japanese hot pot, which is called Shabu-shabu. It was pretty good, except for the part when I started to hate myself after eating too much. (It was a buffet)

For those of you who aren't Asian and don't know what hot pot is (and you should try it at least once in your life), it is a communal pot of boiling soup in the middle of the table and everyone throws in meats and greens and other things like noodles. When things are cooked, you serve one another. Or in my case, keep feeding everyone around the table to get rid of food once you're full. :)

You get to go around and pick out which foods you want to cook.

Afterwards, we were treated to five flavours of Haagen Daz ice cream, which was amazing because how often do buffet restaurants serve gourmet ice cream?

One of the best things about today was that I didn't spend a penny!

(I spent the money yesterday.)

On impulse, yesterday, I bought a ballet ticket to see the Lyon Opera Ballet for today.

Here is a picture of the theatre inside the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.

The ballet was in town for the Hong Kong Arts Festival. It's kind of a funny story because the subways all over HK were advertising for this block of shows (three shows in total), and the guy who's photo they chose as the face of the Lyon Opera Ballet- well I thought the guy looked like a creep (it's because he had a goatee) and every time I passed the ad, I would think "good luck trying to get people to see the show with that ad"! Little did I know I would be the one watching it a couple of days later.

The show was spectacular!

I had seen a ballet show once before when I was a kid (The Nutcracker), but this was different because it had neoclassical themes and was more contemporary.

The performance consisted of four separate ballets. The first performance was the most classical, with an ensemble and lead dancers and everyone dressed in leotards and pointe shoes. I think it was placed first to appease the traditional purists (me).

The second performance started to get more modern (it was four guys dancing ballet but they were dressed in farmer's shirts). The forms were more like something you'd see on So You Think You Can Dance. The guy with the creepy goatee appeared in this one, but he had shaved his goatee off! (I was pretty happy about that.)

The third performance consisted of four women dancing, but I wasn't a big fan. The choreographer was experimenting with German Expressionism, so instead of nice posture that is typical of traditional ballet, the women had hunched backs throughout the thing- which wasn't the nicest thing to look at. Besides the posture, I liked the choreography. It was discordant and interesting. It opened my eyes to something new.

My favourite piece of all was the last one. The theme was modern day chaos, and the music had blended classical piano with sounds of radio transmissions and other "tech-y" sounds. The whole thing was beautifully put together and danced. It was very graceful, but seemingly organic, with dancers running on and off the stage. The group was like a living, breathing organism- that's how well everyone worked together. The scene reminded me of the dancers who performed with Muse when they appeared on the Grammy Awards (google it if you haven't seen). I read the choreographer's bio and it said he choreographed Black Swan and appeared in it! Amazing.

I don't want to bore you with words, but if you have the chance, go see the Lyon Opera Ballet. The artistic vision is modern, but has classical elements to it as well.

By the way, interesting fact: this show was the most white people I've seen congregating together in Hong Kong. Audience was about 50/50 Asian-Cauasian. Not too many Chinese people here are into arts I'm afraid.

This is a photo of the intermission. See if you can count the white people and the Asian people!

After the show, it was around 10:30 pm. One of the awesome things I noticed about HK is that the malls are still open up until 11 pm. In Toronto, things start to close around 6 pm and they are open until 9 pm if you're lucky! I love the convenience of being able to shop whenever I want here. I think it's interesting how the cultures are different. In Toronto, I'm assuming people spend time after 9 pm at home with family, which is why store hours are shorter, because they don't get many customers anyway. Your thoughts?