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Memories and Reflections

The Bolshoi in Moscow

Note: This is the next in a new series of articles.Some of them will deal with personal experiences. In this new series to the Tribune, Dr. Howard commits to tell the events exactly as they happened, no exaggeratiion or fabrication.

Bolshoi in Russian means large. Universally in Russia it refers to the Bolshoi theater(big theater). The Bolshoi is a center of performing arts in Russia and is world-famous. Over the 70 year history of the Communist system, they concentrated on art and entertainment to keep the people occupied, along with standing in long lines to get the essentials of life. Many Russians consider it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity if they are ever permitted the opportunity to go to the Bolshoi. And then, there was the cost of being able to afford to go. The upper echelon entertainment was pretty expensive. For, believe it or not Russia was a very class oriented system, even after the Communists took over and declared equality. The reality was like a socialist writer that wrote the “animal Farm”, “Some are more equal than others.”

I was very fortunate in that the first time I went there our guide was successful in getting tickets for us. It was a ballet entitled Gisele. Pres. Nixon was there the following night and he got to see Swan Lake as I remember it. The night that I was there there seemed to be hundreds and hundreds of people wanting tickets. I saw one poor guy who was trying to sell his ticket and the crowd had pushed him up against the wall trying to get his ticket. I never saw how that came out.

How can I summarize something that is the epitome of beauty, grace and wonder? The emphasis that the Russians put on entertainment and art was epitomized in their presentation of Gisele. The audience, properly dressed (with the exception of a few Americans scattered in the audience) were respectful and anticipating the wonderful experience they were about to enjoy.

The ballet performers were all professional in the finest sense of the word. After I came back to the states some of their performers came over here, as they do periodically. They are always greeted with great fanfare when they go to the US as Americans are when they go to Russia to perform in some events.

The lighting in a ballet performance is exceptional in its self. Shadows, movements and music are all integrated into a wonderful experience. Russians expressed their envy of us of being able to attend the Bolshoi ballet. Russia is quite proud of the artist they have produced. Tchaikovsky is well known for his work in the arts, Tolstoy for his novels and a myriad others who have contributed both domestically and internationally to the entertainment of people all over the world.

As result of this experience I became more cognizant of the beauty of the ballet and have enjoyed seeing my granddaughter perform. For sure if you go to Moscow try to get tickets secured in advance because it is unlikely you be able to do it after you get there.

There is one thing that I seem to have noticed in all Russian are is a certain poignancy. When you read the history, see the hard live that the weather creates for everybody in that country you can see that there is a certain attitude of resignation, almost pessimism but then you are surprised by the positive attitude so often expressed.

Dr. Ken Howard is a current Bowie County resident that has spent his life teaching management and economics at the university level. He has traveled to 45 countries in various capacities, including the military. He is the patriarch of a large family of four daughters and 15 grandchildren.

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