A Night at the Ballet

Alexandre Silva

Christine Schwaner

I had a wonderful weekend with David this week.  Friday we hung out at home and David was having a lot of pain from his recent neck problems so I was a bit (ok a lot) concerned about him.  It is not easy watching someone you care about go through pain.  Thankfully by Saturday morning he was feeling much better.

This weekend was a bit of a suprise.  Thursday we were sitting outside having dinner and enjoying the weather when David asked "do you like ballet."  I said yes I do enjoy it even though I dont get to go very much, and that it also depended on what the ballet was.  He said "good because we are going Saturday night!"  Two of his friends are soloists for the Pittsburgh Ballet Company and they had given David two free tickets.

The ballet was Balanchine, and was sort of a compilation of works.  The first part was very abstract and took place on a very blank stage with just a blue screen behind the dancers, who were clad in skin tight, no frills, white tights.  The rest of the show was much more enjoyable with the last piece being The Prodigal Son.  The dancers were fantastic.  David's friend Alexandre Silva was in the lead role.

I sat with my eyes glued to the stage as the dancers seemed to defy gravity and floated across my view.  I am not sure what was more beautiful, the costumes, the dancers themselves (the men and the women had perfect bodies), or the movements of the dance. David held my hand through most of the performance, which made it even more extra special.  I get into all that kind of romantic stuff!

After the performance we ran into Christine Schwaner, David's friend and wife of Alexandre, who is a dancer and soloist herself.  She whisked us backstage to meet her husband, Alexandre.  It was amost surreal walking  across the imense stage of the Benedum peering out into the audience area.  You dont realize how huge the backstage area is until you see it for yourself.  We walked across the stage with Christine into the dressing room area.  A long dimly lit hallway with the dancers names posted outside a row of doors. Halfway down the hall, a shirtless and sweaty Alexandre Silva came bounding down the hall to greet his wife and David.  I was introduced and we walked back out to the side stage where we talked briefly until the Director of the ballet came up to critique Alexandre's performance. Alexandre had a scene where he literally crawled across the stage on hands and knees, which took its tole.  His knees were very bruised up from the evening performance.   We spoke for a while and then left out the back stage door with Alexandre and Christine in the lead to head back to the parking lot to get our cars.  

Alexandre and Christine were both genuinely charming and I felt very at ease with them!  David, when he lived in Polish hill, used to rent to new Ballet artists and it turns out that Alexandre and Christine were former tenants of his.

The evening was exciting in many ways.  One, because I got to see a fantastic ballet AND I got to meet the lead performer backstage at the Benedum!  That was not the only reason it was fantastic.  It was exciting because I got to finally meet some of David's friends AND I finally felt a little more included in his life.  I have not seen David be so bubbly and happy in quite some time.  I could tell that it was a part of his life that mad him happy to think about just from his reaction when he saw them. It was a good feeling to see him so happy and a good feeling for me to meet part of his past! I guess part of me was happy to know that he cared enough and was comfortable enough to have me by his side when we met them.  Silly I know, but to me it meant a lot!

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