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Why a Charlotte Ballet show is better than Netflix

I’m slightly ashamed to admit that Netflix is my go-to form of entertainment. When I want to get really fancy I steal my parents’ Showtime password and catch up on “Shameless.” I’ve always loved theater and the ballet though, so when I got the chance to get a behind-the-scenes look at Charlotte Ballet thanks to Pink Social Girl Tribe, I was all in. An opportunity to take selfies with tiaras? Um, yep. Sign me up.

Before the show (titled “Innovative Works”) began, we were ushered backstage for a look at the costume department. Tutus, tiaras of every make and model, and more stretched as far as the eye could see.I could feel our group collectively inhale in excitement. While these items looked beautiful, we also learned about the intricacy of creating them. A tutu used on stage takes between 80 and 100 hours to craft, and costs about $1,000 at minimum, mostly due to the labor involved. The Sugar Plum Fairy tutu that Sarah Hayes Harkins danced in at this year’s Nutcracker cost $4,500 to create and is detailed in only Swarovski crystals, since they look best onstage. It’ll last about 10 years.

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We also got to preview some of the costumes for “The Little Mermaid,” which will run March 11-20 at the Knight Theater. Seeing the sketches on paper and then looking at the actual costumes sitting there was like something out of “Project Runway.”

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Besides the VIP experience, there were a few elements that made the show especially enjoyable for a ballet novice like me:

It felt intimate.

“Innovative Works” took place in the 200-seat Patricia McBride & Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux Center for Dance on North Tryon Street. I was in the very last row and could still hear and see perfectly. I’m talking feet moving on floors and everything.

It felt accessible.

Before each unique section of the show, a video clip would play where the choreographer would explain what you were about to see, why he chose the music, and other relevant thoughts. Since I hadn’t been to the ballet in a while, this helped put things into context.

It felt relaxing.

Going to the ballet was a totally different entertainment experience than what I’ve become used to. I tucked my phone safely away in my bag and was focused only on the stage. It almost became like meditating, as I absorbed the show and let my mind wander.

I found myself much more engaged and inspired than when I’m hitting “Yes, I’m still watching” at home on my couch. Plus, there’s something special about taking in a live performance with other people that you miss when you’re sitting with a remote in your hand.

Whether you go see “The Little Mermaid” or another performance put on by Charlotte Ballet, get ready for an experience that will have your brain processing differently.

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Added bonus: you can get tickets to most shows starting at $25. Even if you don’t have a lot to spend you can go check out what Charlotte Ballet is all about.

Photos: Lauren Levine

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