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Wednesday 22 January 2020

Pink Boots Walk Me to the Ballet

Over 50s blogger Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton? in pink boots and green and pink dress in Trafalgar Square

Dear friends. I've been wanting a pair of bright pink boots for a long time. Finally Hush have a pair, but too late for me: I had found a pair on US website FSJ and they've finally arrived. I wore my new boots for a trip to the Coliseum in London for the 70th anniversary gala performance of English National Ballet. It was an outing for Les Deux Moutons - I was accompanied by Anna from Mutton Style.

It was a beautiful day in London and we took some fun photos in Trafalgar Square to take advantage of that blue sky.

Next, lunch, and I had found the most perfect place in the same road as the theatre: the St Martin's Lane Hotel, which is very discreet and, inside, full of Instagrammable photo opps.  We enjoyed their signature cocktail, coco-ito, and I had seared tuna with a sesame crust.

Blogger meet up: over 50s style bloggers Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton and Annemarie from Mutton Style

Then it was down to the Coliseum for the matinee performance.  Matinees are perfect in winter, I always think, because dark, cold evenings are very off putting to venture out. The Coliseum is my favourite theatre: it's beautiful and the seats have a large pitch and are very comfortable. Also, the women's washroom I visited is BIG, which in itself is unusual in a Victorian theatre.

The performance started with a video where dance luminaries and former artistic directors described the company, its character and its evolution.

I have always preferred ENB to the Royal Ballet, which has become (to my mind) a bit too corporate and formal. ENB has always had an air of free spirit about it, while latest artistic director Tamara Rojo has brought more balletic precision to the corps.

I became a lover of ballet in my early years as a newspaper reporter when I was given tickets to see La Fille Mal Gardee because the deputy editor couldn't go.  I actually hated that one (and still dislike the works of that particular choreographer) but persevered and took my mum to a performance of a triple bill in a big top in Exeter.  We were hooked.  Ballet can be incredibly immersive.  I find myself getting lost in the beautiful music, the lithe bodies so graceful, and the other-worldliness of the stage and theatre.

I Saw Rudolf Nureyev Twice

Over the years I have seen some wonderful performances.  I saw Rudolf Nureyev twice, in 1983 and 1986. He was nearing the end of his career but still had the most amazing charisma.  It brought memories back of how some devoted followers had thrown red roses from a box at the Coliseum, and Rudolf picked them up and was so gracious as he accepted them. You could tell he lived for performing.

One of my specialist subjects should I ever go on Mastermind is the Russian dancer Nijinsky, and I have seen recreations of some of his choreography and productions (my absolute favourites) including Nureyev in L'Apres Midi D'Un Faun and Le Spectre de la Rose. The latter, a short work, is to my mind one of the most beautiful of ballets. A young girl clutches a rose as she drifts off to sleep, remembering a dance. During the night, the spirit of the rose leaps through the window and dances as she sleeps.

Back to the ENB Gala Performance, and the first act was a vibrant and spirited collection of excerpts, both modern and traditional. A few of them I had never seen before so it was a brilliant taster to find ballets you would like to see full-length, including for me Giselle, because ENB's modern new version looks entirely different to the traditional version I saw years ago.

After the interval and a glass of champagne, the second act was one of ENB's most celebrated pieces, Etudes. A fantastic performance full of light and shade.

Gail Hanlon from over 50s style blog Is This Mutton? in midi length green and pink patterned dress, pink cardigan and pink metallic boots

I wore the pink boots with a green and pink dress that hasn't had many outings (Studio Preen at Debenhams) and topped with a teddy coat, as it was only around seven degrees despite the sun. That cute Aspinall trunk bag didn't make it to the ballet because it's too impractical - I couldn't squeeze in my phone, lipstick or brush!

Pink and green: Gail Hanlon from over-50s blog Is This Mutton? in Studio by Preen dress and pink metallic boots

Are you a balletomane? Which are your favourite productions? Do share in the comments.

Now it's time for #WowOnWednesday, the weekly fashion, beauty and travel link-up that helps bloggers find new readers, and readers to find new blogs to enjoy! Please take a few minutes to visit some of the blogs and leave a comment, to make it worth their while taking part.

Last week's most popular post was by Hilda from Over The Hilda with her Top Tips for Travelling to Morocco.

My favourite post was by Shauna from Lipgloss and Lace and her post Walk On the Wild Side.  Now that I've got my pink boots, I'm coveting her gorgeous pink faux fur jacket! Look how it pops against the snowy background.

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