Last week had just been one of those weeks. Things had become too packed and all my social things came in together. Two nights out and a day in London to prepare for, added to a school assembly and a school trip made things feel stretched to the point of breaking. Mckdad had been even more snowed under than usual at work and our conversations were a snatched ten minutes, where we mainly talk about arrangements or worries about the kids. A fairly last minute late meeting for him turned a night out that I’d been looking forward to for months into a logistical juggle.
However, then I went to the ballet. My mum and I were booked to see Matthew Bourne’s production of Sleeping Beauty. Years ago, we had watched his now famous, Swan Lake and I still remember the feeling of being utterly blown away by it. It was the first time I had ever witnessed such a riotous standing ovation. We have tried to catch his work every time it has come to Norwich. The Nutcracker was enormous fun, with costumes that were outstanding. I have often wished that this is one I could show the boys, they would love it. Cinderella, updated and set in the Second World War was OK, but it didn’t give me the tingles as Swan Lake had done.
So, as I left the house in a rush and a hurry and still felt stressed as we took our seats, I was transformed by an amazing creative spectacle almost as soon as the first notes were played and the curtain rose. I could feel all the tension leave my body and became utterly immersed in what was before me. Most of the time I was completely engrossed in what I could see and hear. The thrill of a live orchestra, unseen, but oh, so present. The sumptuous costumes and scenery, every detail perfect in it’s concept and execution and of course the pure physical strength and grace of the dancers, although after a while I failed to even notice this, as I became so transported by the story. My eyes wanted to see the whole stage all at once, to watch each dancer, but it just wasn’t possible and so I had to simply see as much as I could. It was weird, challenging, beautiful, sumptuous and all consuming. It soothed my soul and calmed my busy mind.
Occasionally though, other thoughts flitted through my mind. I wished that Mini Mck could’ve seen it. I felt that even as a six year old, it would’ve been accessible to him and even if he hadn’t understood every nuance, he would have marvelled at the spectacle of it. It would have challenged him and made him think. How amazing for him to see how strong and yet graceful the male dancers were. A different view of male athleticism for him to ponder.
And I thought about creativity and the arts. I thought about why it’s really important that we immerse our kids in it, when it is being so marginalised in mainstream education. I thought about the time Mini Mck is spending learning spelling and grammar and what is being left out for it. I thought of the lack of funding for the arts, lack of support for less privileged youngsters to explore their creativity and how cross this makes me.
But then, I realised there will always be creative people. Creative people are born that way. Of course they need some nurturing, but there will always be those who say “I want to dance. I must dance” There will always be parents who say “You can make it work, you can be whatever you want” There will always be teachers who recognise that spark in a child, that see their talent. Some creatives won’t necessarily make it their job, but they will still be there, enriching the lives of themselves and others with the magic that they can create with their hands, words, bodies and minds.
Governments can encourage or try to strangle creativity, but they cannot kill it. They never have before and I don’t believe they will this time either. Creative people are born and they will continue to be so. We just need to make sure we don’t miss them……
…..and if you can beg, borrow or steal a ticket to see this production of Sleeping Beauty, DO. I promise you will be pleased you did.