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Swan Lake – Beauty and Brilliance


“That’s really sweet”, they said,” You’re taking your daughter to the ballet.  They were wrong.  She was taking me.   Why do people think that men won’t like ballet?!   EJ gave me a lovely birthday present last night – after a tiring few days at the Free Church General Assembly we went to the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh to see Scottish Ballet’s new production of Swan Lake.  From the opening note it was absolutely superb.

The set was minimalist, the costumes simple, the choreography stunning, the dancers beautiful, strong and vivacious; and of course the music – Tchaikovsky – nothing more needs to be said.  David Dawson’s production is just a triumph for Scottish ballet – I challenge anyone to see it and not be moved and impressed.


I will make a confession.  I cried three times!  Once for joy, twice for beauty and the third time with thankfulness.  The joy at the beginning of Act 1.  The beauty and grace of Act 2.  And then during the final Act, I was just so thankful to be alive and to experience such grace and beauty.  Maybe I was so emotional because I was exhausted after the Assembly, or maybe I’m just human!    I had also just been reading a wonderful story about an atheist poet who found himself converted by the sheer force of beauty, including his own poetry.  It seems to me that many Christians underestimate the apologetic of beauty.

It was also a wee bonus to be there when one of the dancers ‘Bethany’ was announced as Principal dancer for Scottish ballet.  She was obviously not expecting it and burst into tears!  Going by her performance on the night it was throughly deserved.

It was all a wee bit surreal.  24 hours earlier I had been listening to a minister complain and dissent because his conscience would not allow him to be part of an Assembly that ‘commended’ its own paraphrases of the Bible.  That was an aberration in what was an otherwise good Assembly, but it was a reminder to me that we are apt to get caught up in trivia and forget the most important things.  I suspect that there might be some Christians who would regard going to the theatre to watch Swan Lake as being trivial.  I beg to differ.  The triviality was that minor discussion on the previous night, the depth was in what I witnessed at the Festival Theatre.  It was a lovely gift from a lovely daughter who herself is a gracious gift from a gracious God.

I am wealthy in many ways so the words of Paul to Timothy come to mind – 1 Timothy 6:17

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment



  1. Sounds great – nothing wrong with a guy crying, although in the west of Scotland it might more commonly be witnessed when he is:

    1. Drunk
    2. His football team has scored a goal :).

  2. I understand what you mean when joy and beauty combine . On the Highland side of Balachullish bridge there are two fields of Bluebells which almost cover their backdrop of green. You’d have to have a heart of stone not to marvel at such !

  3. Is that “beautiful” – the sight of the bluebells, or David’s tears? Is there a difference, or do you want to leave us with the mystery of the dots, Margaret?

    I couldn’t see that true Scotsman Mel Gibson’s braveheart being pierced by ballet. Couldn’t see it being his “bag”- pipe. But I could see his heart being lifted by watching sparrows flappily bathing in a puddle or a school of dolphins delightfully gambolling, in their enjoyment of being dolphins off the West Coast of Scotland, under the watchful smile of our Father.

    Yes, we were never meant to have stoical, hearts of stone but neither are we to emote all over the place and over everyone. God given emotions combined with the mind of Christ, wondrous indeed.

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