YGL: Beer & Ballet … Really

by WL Author

Looking for a night of culture in D.C. that wont break the bank? Look no further than a $25 ticket to Beer & Ballet.

By Katherine Delmonico

The Washington Ballet dancers during practice

The Washington Ballet dancers during practice

Beer & Ballet is mysteriously missing from the internet. The basic premise of this event, put on by The Washington Ballet’s Jete Society, is documented in several locations, but I couldn’t find any first hand accounts of the event before I went. Seeing as how I love ballet and beer – the two have been good friends for several years now – I decided to do a little investigative journalism. It was a rainy Wednesday night in D.C. and I coerced my best friend, Lizzy Doyle, a native Washingtonian and lover of all things artsy, to tag along.

I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. Would we be drinking beer while watching ballet? Would the ballerinas be drinking beer? Was the ballet about beer? Confused, but excited we arrived at the small ballet studio in the Cleveland Park area around 6:45. There was parking on the neighborhood streets around, but no lot to be found. We walked into a fairly small building and were greeted by the PR team running the event. They seated us in bleacher style seating in a small studio and an hour long practice ensued.

Fritz Han of The Washington Post, Winston Bao Lord, and TWB’s Artistic Director Septime Webre

Fritz Han of The Washington Post, Winston Bao Lord, and TWB’s Artistic Director Septime Webre

One of the best parts about Beer & Ballet was the intimate setting.  In close proximity, you could hear the ballerinas breathing heavily after a particularly grueling set; you could see sweat beading off the male leads’ forehead after a solo; mistakes (albeit very few) were made.

None of this detracted from the ultimate beauty and grace of the performance, and for me, it in fact enhanced it. No longer were these dancers some kind of super-human robot in beautiful costume and makeup; it was an artist whose true dedication to their craft was obvious, and the result was all the more beautiful for it. I was certainly taken with how athletic the dancers were (as Lizzy and I left, we vowed to begin limiting our excessive cheese consumption and finally admitted that lifting the remote to turn on “The Real Housewives of New York City” was not actual exercise). The dancing was such an obvious physical exertion, which is easily lost among the beauty of traditional performance.

Following the ballet practice, there is a small reception area where there are finger foods and ample beers for the taking. The beer was good and the food was actually surprisingly delicious. While perhaps you are not attending Beer & Ballet for the ‘beer’ part, it certainly is a nice addition to the end of the show. If you are looking for a happy hour, look again; but if you’re young, broke and artistically inclined in D.C., Beer & Ballet is your ticket.

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