Sunday, March 3, 2013

San Francisco Part VI: Sunday


The "competition" was over, but there was still more to the weekend.  Sunday morning, Isaac reported to the workshop at 8:30 in the morning where he and the other dancers took classes from the judges.  All of the girls were placed in classes by age, but all of the boys were put in the oldest class--and we're not talking oldest class at the local ballet school; we're talking about the best in the region.  Add this to the fact that they were new teachers with different ballet methods and it makes for one super challenging day.  (Something else I've learned over the years is that not all ballet is the same.  There are several different methods which can range from a little different to drastically different.)  He took a series of classes from classical technique to men's class until one in the afternoon.

Oh, yes.  And there was a row of scouts sitting in the room with notebooks in their laps.  The competition was not over for scholarships to good schools.

While he was doing his thing, his sister and I got to do her thing.  
We went to the Fine Art Museum.

The Thinker by Rodin
We arrived a few minutes before they opened, which was okay because they had some neat things on the grounds.  It was a beautiful day!  The sun was shining the whole weekend.  It was still a bit chilly in the mornings, evenings and in the shade, but we still got a mega dose of Vitaman D.

Joan of Arc.
One of the unexpected perks of our trip were all of the brief history lessons.
We saw some amazing things.  It was delightful to me to stand back and watch my daughter discover her own tastes.  She loved the 16th Century Dutch and the 17th Century French painters.  She tended to skim past the landscapes, though she did appreciate several of them, only to dwell a long time on the portraits and still lifes. 

Elizabeth Louis Vigee Le Brun, French, 1791
She, having that naturally artistic eye, was a wonderful observer.  She noticed, and wondered how, the grapes looked juicy, the eyes were watery, the skin looked alive.  She amazed at the details of the fur, the truth behind a laugh, the sadness behind the eyes.  She asked great technical questions about the materials (How did they get paper that big?!) and got close enough to see the brush strokes.

Abraham van Beyeren, Dutch, 1655
Along with the portraits and still lifes, she was enamored with the sculpture.  She couldn't get over how soft these masters were able to make the stone seem.  How did they make stone (or even clay, for that matter) look like silk, or touchable hair, or delicate lace?

Rembrandt, Dutch, 1632
At one point she asked how they made such great copies of the artwork.  She was duly astonished as I explained that these were not copies; these were the actual works of some very famous artists.  We were privileged to see Renoir, Monet, Rembrandt, Picasso, Rodin, van Gogh, Cezanne, Bouguereau, Vermeer and so many more.  

There was one thing I forgot about Fine Art Museums and had therefore not warned my nine year old.  Pretty much as soon as we walked in, I was reminded.
"Oh.  Um, we're going to see a lot of naked people."
I did my best to explain why, but I don't think it made much sense to her young mind. I made sure to point out the beauties I saw and emphasized the fact that these were the way real women's bodies look, not like the false 12 year old boy bodies our society seems to demand from women today.

In the end, we just hurried through the more naked galleries.  :)

After the stimulating morning in the museum, we picked up the dancer and headed to church.  San Francisco has congregations from all over the world: Chinese, Samoan, Tagalog, Spanish, Tongan, etc.  We were lucky to find an English speaking congregation, though it was a young single adult ward (ages 18-30).  It was a pretty good meeting and the people were very nice.  

As a side note here, I was very impressed with San Francisco.  Just about everyone was very nice and the city was clean and lovely, though it may not be fair to judge a city by the first nice spring weekend of the year.  The traffic left something to be desired and it was still a city so there were a lot of people and it was noisy, but one can't have a city without those things.

After church, we hurried Isaac back to the San Francisco Ballet for his audition to the Bolshoi Ballet Academy Summer Intensive. He had danced Friday evening, much of Saturday, and for nearly five hours that morning.  In addition to so much dancing, he had the added strain of  being constantly under the microscope.  I didn't know how he would fare at the audition, but he said it went very well.  It was like going home because there were no surprises.  He knew the combinations, he knew the terminology, he was with his age group and so felt very comfortable.

He was accepted.

My daughter and I searched out a quiet park.  We enjoyed the scenery and some surprise history (battlements along the bay).

And then, we waited.
Some more.

Though it was full and we had just these few precious vacation hours, we did try to keep the Sabbath Day.  Overall, it was a lovely time.

But tomorrow was to change all of those happy feelings . . .


  1. EMILY! Don't leave me hanging... Two posts in one day is not too much when there is a good story to tell!

  2. Congrats to Isaac! So does this mean NY for the summer?? Wow!