Thursday, January 8, 2009

"Little Match Girl" with Ballet of the Dolls

What if only your memories – and your fantasies – kept you warm?

One last memory from Christmas 2008: we went to the Ritz Theater in Northeast Minneapolis to see Little Match Girl, created and performed by Myron Johnson's Ballet of the Dolls. It was a gorgeous, mesmerizing show, with music by The Tiger Lillies.

My mom says she loved hearing her mother read her the story of the Little Match Girl as a child, and I think I recall a stage version at the early Children's Theatre Company, where I met Myron when we both took classes there during high school. His work with the Dolls never ceases to amaze me – he brings such an original, witty, deeply emotional, and innovative sensibility to everything he creates. And the dancers in this show, including Jolie Meshbesher as the little match girl, never seemed to pause for breath. It was, of course, ultimately tragic: a meditation on the suffering that exists alongside us, and the ways in which we look the other way.

We huddled in out of the cold in the lobby of the old Ritz, where there was a Christmas tree covered with mittens and gloves donated for those in need. It was great to be in the not-overly-renovated Ritz, a beautiful space for the Dolls to dance and come to life. Looks like northeast Minneapolis is coming to life in other interesting ways, as well – I wish I'd had more time to explore during daylight.


Nor said...

Remind me to only ask friends and never read reviews...

elena said...

Yes, the reviews (like so many these days) did not begin to do the show justice. Too bad! We need a higher standard for arts/theater/dance criticism: where is the person who can carry on the tradition of Mike Steele?