At the beginning of May, Ballet San Jose School student Mesa Burdick participated in one of Ballet SJ’s online contests and won the chance to go behind the scenes of Cinderella (May 4 – 6, 2012) with two of its stars, American Ballet Theatre’s Sascha Radetsky and Ballet SJ’s Alexsandra Meijer. We asked twelve-year-old Mesa to blog about her experience.
When I heard about Ballet San Jose’s poem writing contest, I was all for it. Unfortunately, procrastination got the better of me and I ended up writing it at the last moment. Anxiously, I tried to write a beautiful and sophisticated poem. But once I saw the beautiful poems that everyone had posted, I thought it was hopeless to try. I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to post anything. But then I thought why should that stop me? I can still post something small, maybe even funny. That’s when I got my idea — “The Jealous Stepsister’s Lament.”
It came as a huge shock when I was announced the winner. I was also delighted that I could invite my friends Caelyn, Laura, Bryn, and Anastasia (pictured above), all of whom were from my ballet class. When the day finally came, I was buzzing with excitement, waiting for the moment when I would meet the great Sascha Radetsky and beautiful Alexsandra Meijer! After our ballet class, my ballet friends and I hopped in the car, buns up and all, to carpool to the theater.
When we arrived, we took our seats, the lights dimmed and there was Cinderella on stage, looking lovely as ever in her flowing rag dress, and the step sisters, looking silly in their funny attire and floppy bonnets. One of my favorite parts was when Alexsandra Meijer imitated the sisters. Later, a loud boom and a puff of smoke brought the fairy godmother onstage. Magically, she moved away the sets to reveal a forest where fairies danced.
When the curtain dropped for intermission, my friends and I wandered the lobby sharing snacks and talking about how much we liked Cinderella and the season’s fairies. When we heard the intermission bell ring, we rushed to our seats anticipating the dimming lights and the curtain rising to a beautiful ball scene.
Finally, the Prince, Sascha Radetsky, bursts onto the stage with the audience’s applause. As I watched his explosive jumps and precision landings, I couldn’t believe that I would soon be meeting him in person. It was wonderful to watch Alexsandra and Sascha dance together. Soon the ballet finished when the two, draped in royal attire, received a standing ovation from the audience.
As soon as the lights were up and everyone began filing out of the theater, we made our way to the stage door. When we entered, the crew was already busy clearing the sets. Cinderella’s carriage was the only scenery remaining. Suddenly, Sascha and Alexsandra appeared still in makeup and costume. A moment ago they danced a fairy tale, now they were close enough to touch. They had only just finished dancing and were still catching their breath. Beads of sweat stood on Sascha’s brow, and I could see the dark blush on their faces.
I stood there stiff as a board, knees locked, with a wide smile on my face. Sascha and Alexsandra greeted me and I introduced my friends. Sascha said how much he liked my winning poem and encouraged me to keep writing. We exchanged our favorite authors, books and poems. I was thrilled when we were able to get pictures together in front of Cinderella’s carriage.
When the evening finished, I realized I had barely taken a breath.