I recently turned twenty-nine-and-a-half and my husband pulled out all the stops. After all, it’s not every day that one turns twenty-nine-and-a-half for the first time. One of the events that he planned was a matinee performance of Lady of Camellias, by the Boston Ballet. The story was based on the novel La Dame aux Camélias, by Alexandre Dumas, fils. The ballet adaptation has music by Frédéric Chopin and choreography by Val Caniparoli.
This was our first time at the Boston Ballet, and it may not have been the best ballet by which to judge them. The costumes were beautiful; the settings caused spontaneous applause, and it’s pretty hard to top Chopin. On the other hand, some of the choreography in this very melodramatic ballet was downright silly. For instance, when the rival lovers for the affections of poor consumptive Marguerite squared off, they appeared to menacingly tug their boutons de manchette (boo-tohn deh mahn-shet), or cufflinks, at one another. Say what? We have had a good time parodying this bizarre gesture since. I’ve never read the book, but now I’d like to in the hope that I can solve this mystery.