Ballet at the New National Theatre

Ballet at the New National Theatre

[Feb. 2023] In February, when we were temporarily staying in Japan, we went to see a ballet at the New National Theatre in Tokyo with our friend from my high school.

It was my first time going to the New National Theatre.

the ceiling near the entrance of the New National Theatre in Tokyo, Japan
design of the ceiling near the entrance of the theatre

By the way, when it comes to new, there is also old.

The old National Theatre opened in 1966 and is said to be a theatre that shows traditional Japanese performing arts such as Kabuki and Japanese dance.

On the other hand, the New National Theatre, which we visited, opened in 1997, and it seems that it was built to be an opera house that is common overseas.

So, they have their own ballet company called the National Ballet of Japan and the one we went to see was this.

During the lockdown amidst the Covid pandemic, I was watching various ballets that were being streamed and one of them was this company.

the auditorium of the New National Theatre in Tokyo, Japan
we were on the 3rd floor

And they say that this company is one of the top 3 in Japan, so I wanted to see their performance.

Miyako Yoshida, who used to dance at the Royal Ballet in England, is the artistic director.

The programme was Roland Petit’s version of “Coppelia”.

A comical and fun ballet.

I knew the story, and the music was famous, but I think this was the first time I went to the theatre to see it.

This was also the first time I saw a Japanese ballet company in a theatre.

When I lived in Japan in the past, I only went to see foreign companies visiting Japan.

the programme of the performance given at the New National Theatre in Tokyo
the programme was free

I thought that the dancers of this ballet company had no flaws in their dancing, and that they were comparable to those of good foreign ballet companies.

In the past, when it came to ballet in Japan, the men were especially poor and inferior, but the leading man on this day was splendid.

Not only he was technically good, but he also had a nice firm butt.

However, overall, there were too few dancers for the size of the stage, and the impression of the stage was a little desolate.

Maybe it’s because the background was grey and simple.

I wonder if this is the purpose for Roland Petit.

Coppelius, the doll maker ended very poorly in this production.

amazing view of Tokyo from the 41st floor of a hotel near the New National Theatre
the view of Tolyo

The seats in this theatre have cushions, and they also rent out thick cushions for children.

The programme was free and came in a bag with tons of promotional leaflets.

Also, to my surprise, people who were already sitting didn’t get up when we tried to reach our seats.

Is it a coincidence?

I felt very awkward.

After the performance, our friend took us to a cafe on the 41st floor of a hotel, an 11-minute walk from the theatre.

Unfortunately the weather was bad, but the purpose was to enjoy the view.

The view was really nice, but it seems that the fee for the view is expensive, and a pot of tea was as much as about 1400 yen (€9 or $10).

By the way, before the ballet performance, we were supposed to meet this friend at the ticket gate of Hatsudai Station.

the tea at the cafe on the 41st floor of a hotel near the New National Theatre
expensive tea

When we waited for a while, the station staff turned to me and called out, “excuse me!”

“Huh? What’s going on?” I approached him, completely puzzled.

He gave me the message of our friend, saying she would be late so we should go ahead without her.

I was impressed by my friend’s tact, but I was also very impressed by the kindness of the station staff.