Saturday, April 01, 2006

Real Men

Last night my soul was fed.

My in-laws buy season tickets to several different concert series, including Chicago's Lyric Opera--and if they're tired or have a conflict, they'll babysit or pay for a sitter--and send us. We've been to the opera twice this year, on them. What a blessing!

Well, four of their concerts fell on the same two days, so last time it happened, I went with my father-in-law to see The King's Singers, and my husband went with his mom to see The Black Watch. Last night, Papa Rooster and his dad saw the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, and Mom and I saw the stars of the Russian National Ballet.

It wasn't a whole ballet--I've yet to enjoy one of those, other than a nice semi-professional production of The Nutcracker. What we saw last night were excerpts, mostly pas de deux (or dances for two), from various ballets--Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, La Corsaire. No scenery, but exquisite costumes and breath-taking ballet.

As someone who's grown up watching more Olympic pairs skating and ice dancing than I have ballet, at first I missed the fluidity that can be achieved on ice. But the longer I watched, the more I appreciated the athleticism that went into creating the graceful illusion that is ballet. Even more than in ice skating, every muscle is controlled--down to the littlest finger, the eyebrow--even the gaze is completely focused.

And I was amazed at the masculinity of the men! I had to get past the tights, I admit. But once I did, their strength just wowed me. Their leaps and spins looked abolutely impossible for any woman to do--she could do them, perhaps, but not with the height and that same raw power. (If you want to see what I'm talking about, rent an 80's movie called White Knights, with Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gregory Hines.) God truly did construct men and women differently, for different purposes. Perhaps I was influenced by reading this post earlier in the day:

...A man isn't the soft comforting lap the kids sit on to be rocked to sleep, or the kiss that makes owwies all better. He may be called on to do those things sometimes, but he's not really constructed for it. A man is the solidity in his family, the rock that can't be broken. He's also the wall that shields them from storms, and the roof that keeps their heads dry. Which usually means getting rained on or wind-beaten himself. If you don't do that, a woman has to, and it's something they're not constructed for.

Joel's post is a great description of what it takes to be a real man. Often, it's about a man throwing himself, with all his strength--like these men ballet dancers hurling themselves into the air--into what it is that his duty requires. It takes the same kind of discipline and determination that these men ballet dancers embodied for me last night--and there is a grace and a beauty in it that we women need to appreciate.

My husband is no ballet dancer, but he's a real man. And he's leading the way for our four boys, with determination and fortitude, even when it's not easy for him. And the beauty in that, for me, excels even the grace of the ballet.

On another note, I just ran across this post reviewing a movie that's out now called Ballet Russes. After last night, I'll definitely want to see this! It sounds beautiful.

(Oh, I must say that I haven't seen White Knights since it came out and don't remember whether it is family-friendly or not.)

1 comment:

sparrow said...

I know what you mean about the men. They are so strong and athletic you forget about the tights...and the way they lift the girls...sigh.

Glad you had fun. :)