I came to Boris Eifman’s Gala Night completely prepared to fall unconscious. I was sick, sleepy, and my aunt, whom I haven’t seen in months, was the only real reason I was there. We crammed into the tiny seats not far from either the back wall or the ceiling of the New York City Center on West 56th Street and allowed people to step all over our feet as late comers tried to shuffle to their seats before the curtain came up. The show was sold out.
It is very difficult to tell a story with ballet–the audience should know the plot and then read it into the dance. This is why I often fall asleep or at least find my mind wondering while enduring the art of ballet I have to remind myself took the dancers years to perfect. Eifman reinvents the ballet with each new production and makes it clear that it is not a one-dimensional performance to be enjoyed only through hyper-cultural snobbery.