Celebrate Brooklyn, a summer-long series of music, spoken word, and dance performance, takes over the Prospect Park bandshell, much to my delight. Though some performances (Wilco, The Dirty Projectors, etc.) require a ticket purchase, most are free (with a $3 suggested donation.) While my schedule does not permit me to see everything (I opted to miss Laura Marling to go see The Tempest with Christopher Plummer, in theaters), I definitely want to take advantage of as much as possible.
So on Thursday, June 28, I went to see a dance company, Ballet Hispanico. The hot day had turned into a fantastically perfect night for an outdoor event. Being solo, I found an ideal seat, right in the middle, not too far from the front but in perfect view of the entire stage.
My own experience with dance is somewhat limited. When I was six, my cousin and I were in Dance together in Bedford, MI. Jazz dance. The recital featured a cherubim six-year-old me in a magnificent ‘90s leotard of neon confetti. The music played, and the "dancers" moved in from the wings in two rows, stepping together in unison…except for the girl on stage left, the second from the front, smiling with extra wattage because she knew she was doing it right even though everyone else was a beat too fast. Yeah, that was me. This glorious dance exposure has been immortalized on home video: the First Grade Leah Dance. Truly a spectacle not to be missed.
More recent exposure has been a shameless love of So You Think You Can Dance, the shrill Mary Murphy notwithstanding. Actually seeing a real dance company—and for free, no less—was just what I needed to begin my weekend.
The dancers were beautiful and exciting, performing with more theater and humor and playfulness than I had expected or seen before. I didn’t take the time to capture much on film, but it is just one more excuse to love the opportunities for entertainment and personal enrichment that only a city like New York can provide.