Sunday, February 8, 2015

Saturday Arts day

This week we were excited to go see a free presentation of the Washington Ballet Company introducing their newest ballet based on Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow published in 1820 this short story is one that has been a great halloween scary story for many generations. It has lots of "Dutch" influence and kindled my interest in the Dutch settlers of New Amsterdam as a youth when I was studying ballet myself.
This presentation was inspired in part by the paintings at the Smithsonian American Art Museum which hosted this presentation in their great Kogod courtyard under the fantastic canopy installed a few years ago over the space between the two buildings of SAAM and National Portrait gallery.
The choreographer told us that the costumes for the laundresses were inspired by this painting of a the  Young Moravian Girl circa 1755-60 in the collection which we found later and photographed. 

 What ever the inspiration these dancers were channeling joy and pilgrim charm... they warmed up for us and later danced for us sections of the ballet with introductions about the various sections. They also introduced themselves and I was surprised to discover that one was Japanese, Ukrainian and the third is Brazilian! They are soon discovered and accused of witchcraft.
Ballet is always a drama with tragic undertones and romance currents run a plenty. 
They apparently get the usual Salem treatment for witches and come back in the second act as spirit witches with great white wigs! Ichabod Crane the protagonist in the short story is a fellow who wears yellow knickers in this production and is set upon by these spirits while reading some ancient book on witch craft he found somewhere in sleepy hollow.

The Ballet has a funny side too with a drunken bartender who has a duet with Ichabod which I got a short video recording of here. It's a nice dance for a couple of guys and Ichabod is the sort of sober one trying to keep the bartender on his feet. 
While we were looking for the two paintings after we saw the show we discovered a few things that brought quilts of old to mind and lo and behold in the next room a Mennonite quilt.

Mennonite Quilt with embroidered flowers about 1880 cotton 
After the ballet and the roaming through the American Art to find these treasures Keith and I enjoyed great gourmet submarine sandwiches at Taylor Gourmet on 400 block of K. St. NW. Another great Saturday of art adventures. 

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