An American, a Russian, a Dane, and her Japanese grandmother share a cab on the way to the ballet…
This would be a terrible joke, but I’m the American in this scenario and the story ends with me seeing Swan Lake by the Royal Danish Ballet at the Copenhagen Opera House.
The Royal Danish Ballet is important to ballet history & I studied them in my Dance History class at uni. Before we went to Copenhagen I got excited and bought myself a ticket. My unexpected cab ride with a few strangers occurred when trying to get to the performance. I purchased my ticket from the Royal Danish Theatre (a different venue from the Opera House) website. My ticket said “Det Kongelige Teater” on it multiple times which translates to the Royal Danish Theatre. The ballet company is based at the Royal Danish Theatre. I picked up my ticket from an electronic print-your-ticket-here/billeter at the Royal Theatre. There was even a huge poster for Svanesøen (Swan Lake) on the side of the Royal Theatre. I got to the theatre 20-25 minutes before curtain for my solo date to see the ballet and… the doors were locked. What?!? I thought about walking around to the side of the building to see if there were other main doors that I had perhaps missed previously. ?? Thankfully I saw another girl who looked as confused as me. I approached her (an act of bravery for me) and asked if she was going to the ballet too. The next few moments were a bit of a blur. Yes, she and her grandmother were going to the ballet, she had just realized that the ballet is at the opera house, which is on the ticket, but once, in Danish, and in much smaller font than the words Det Kongelige Teater. A guy approached us, he was also looking for the ballet. All of a sudden I was in a cab with a Danish girl, her Japanese grandmother, and a Russian guy on our way to Swan Lake! We made it with just over five minutes to spare to find our seats and sit down. I was in a bit of shock. I have never hopped in a cab with strangers, much less in a foreign country, and certainly not to a place that I didn’t know how to get home from. Additionally I didn’t have any cash (I had walked to the theatre) so I was a little distracted and stressed about getting home, just trusting that there would be lots of cabs waiting outside after the show (there were) and that the cab would take cards (it did). Thank goodness for my Danish Angel (how I started thinking of the Danish girl who graciously invited me to catch a cab with her and her grandmother)! I’d like to think I would have figured out what to do after finding the doors locked, but I didn’t know it was at the opera house (obviously) and wouldn’t have known how to get there without some research. Additionally, I hadn’t noticed cabs in Copenhagen until I jumped into one! I may have walked (a 30 minute journey), but would have arrived late to the performance. I also may have just started crying and walked back to our airbnb without seeing any ballet. ha! In any case, I was on time, had a great seat, and loved the show. The sets and costumes had just been redone for this production and they were amazing. The set was really minimalistic, but combined with the lighting it was mesmerizing. There were these cool geometric set pieces that were held in the fly space (area above the proscenium arch/space above what the audience can see) and would come down during different dances. Minimalistic (i.e. no furniture or fake trees) and very effective.
Two things I took away from all of this:
People are good, helpful, and trustworthy. I know it isn’t often (ever?) wise to jump in a cab with strangers, but it is nice to be reminded that people the world over are good at heart.
I should support dance and go see more shows. Every time I go I’m grateful, excited, and I never regret the money spent on the ticket.
Photos of Svanesøen source.