Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Dance is the Thing

Where: American History Museum

When: through April 30, 2017

Before I talk about this small display at American History, let me just give you a word of advice.  DO NOT go to American History, Natural History or (I'm guessing) Air and Space until next week.  Just don't do it.

The line to get into American History was long; the only reason I was able to enter in under 15 minutes was because I didn't have a bag to be checked.  I was out yesterday and passed Natural History on my way to the Sackler, and the line was out the door and almost to 12th Street.  Since A&S is always packed, I'm sure it's a nightmare as well.  The combination of Passover, Easter, spring break and nice weather seems to have propelled everyone and his brother to the Mall.  If you need a museum fix, head to the Sackler or African Art.

And it's not just the crowds, it's the stepped-up security as well.  You have to empty your pockets, even if you have no bag, so it takes longer to actually enter.  And, of course, there are plenty of our fellow visitors who can't follow directions, so that adds to the wait.  Again, Sackler and African Art are the way to go - I suppose they'd have a look in a bag, but there's no metal detector, and I just sailed right in.

But, this post is about American History and its display case devoted to ballet, so let's get back to that.  I'm sure the curators were not thinking of politics when they set this up (or perhaps they were, I shouldn't make assumptions...), but this is a lovely reminder of the value of allowing immigrants into the United States and welcoming all talented people into the art world, whether they "look the part" or not.

Costumes of Misty Copeland (first African American woman to be named principal dancer at the American Ballet Theater), Marianna Tcherkassky (Russian/Japanese immigrant) and Violette Verdy (French immigrant) were on display.  Where would ballet be without immigrants?  Why shouldn't we see the best dancers, regardless of race or ethnicity?

Verdict: If you can get in, have a look at this gentle reminder that not all those who are different are dangerous.

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