Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Mata Hari in ballet

A while ago, my mom and I saw Mata Hari perfomed by the National Ballet. It was such a beautiful performance, and I felt rather impressed by the creature Mata Hari. For those who don't know Mata Hari, she was a Dutch exotic dancer, mainly in Paris but in other European cities as well. In her dances she undressed herself while dancing, and she became famous for it. She had always been interested in military men (and probably had affaires with several of them), so when World War I began, she was suspected of spying, and later executed for spying for the Germans, although it is not clear if she really was a spy. But she was a free woman in times of war, found attractive by many men, especially in upper and military classes, and that was probably enough to think of her as something dangerous.

Before Mata Hari became an exotic dancer, she lived in The Netherlands and married a captain of the Dutch colonial army. When they moved to Indonesia (Dutch Indies), she joined a local dance group, and she looked at the Indonesian culture with utmost care. This is where she came up with the name Mata Hari, which means "eye of dawn" (a.k.a. "sun") in Malaysian.

Imagine her story turned into a ballet performance. Ballet is just so lovely to watch. Last year I went to see the Swan Lake by the National Ballet, which was also beautiful to see since it's a very classic piece, but I think I found Mata Hari more interesting, at least in a way that made me think it about it even long after the show was over. I think it was so beautiful to see how they turned her story into a dance, without the  use of any words, but still it was all so clear what was happening on stage (although you should always read about the story before seeing it perfomed). I think they did a great job on representing Mata Hari's story in ballet. It was really fascinating. And so is Mata Hari. Just look at all these pictures that I collected of this femme fatale.

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