We arrived early at the Nikolayevsky Palace for the show and after we had enjoyed a leisurely walk in the garden waited fashionably in the parlour. Six of my companions and I felt that the only way this could feel more fashionable was if only we were holding a cup of coffee.
The fabulous thing about June in St. Petersburg is that the usual time the sun ends its course across the sky is eleven at night. Fabulous because at seven-thirty in the evening we walked walk the streets of St. Petersburg in golden yellow light and a gentle breeze, under blue skies and humungous white clouds.
The folk dance itself was one thing that made me eternally grateful I was born with the gift of eyesight. Men in pants and bow ties sang. We didn’t know the lyrics, the melody, or the artists, but we wanted to sing along. Gorgeous Russian girls with dimpled cheeks danced in peasant dresses with boys whose eyes glowed with magic. I have never been in love but I am certain that what I felt for the blue-eyed Russian dancer was love indeed.
Their dance told a story, and their eyes flirted with you as they shared their culture with you. The danced with shawls, tapping shoes, flutes, headdresses, and wooden fans, and when we were wholly invested in the stage, the invited a few members of the audience on stage. The let us out for an interval where we could take photographs with the dancers in costume, and buy a few souvenirs ourselves, but I was impatient for the rest of the performance. At their first signal we came running back, only to leave the end with happy faces and heavy eyes.
At their first signal, I came running back. I saw the dancers tell a tale in each performance. It made me realise that we live parted by deep oceans, wear different clothes, and speak different languages, but face the same problems. Once that each person in the audience empathised with and laughed at the irony of, while only a select few knew English. Only those cold of heart could leave at the end without happy faces and heavy eyes.