Over the weekend, my niece and I enjoyed a special lady’s outing. We attended the Roger and Hammerstein’s musical Cinderella. Originally created for television, the 1957 production starred the legendary actress and singer Julie Andrews. Not until the second or third song did I connect the dots about why the music and lyrics were so familiar. 20+ years ago in the upper Midwest as a wee child, my mother and I watched the 1965 film version. My one encounter from decades ago triggered a flood memories. Though I never “identified” with Cinderella nor obsessed over the Cinderella legacy, the musical blew me away.
My niece and I watched wide-eyed at the whimsical, sophisticated, intricate, and elegant stage production. The costume changes, set changes, stage lighting, plot, dancing, music, humor, and lyrics filled the performing arts center like a dream- a very surreal and elegant dream. From London to Broadway to Vancouver, I’ve enjoyed musicals and stage productions. As much as I enjoy the colorful and catchy sounds and sights of Hairspray, Cinderella evoked a seemingly long-lost or dying art form- classy and elegant.
I’m sure the musical has been modified for a more modern audience. Overall, the intonation of the singing evoked a pure and classy quality that I hadn’t heard in years. Though catchy and interesting, feelings of softness, elegance, and innocence were conjured. The closest image I could conjure was Julie Andrews in the Sounds of Music or Mary Poppins (which at the time, I forgot Julie Andrews ever played Cinderella.) The voice had a level of sophistication and demure beauty instead of the in your face power that Wicked or Frozen did not.
In our modern era of constant noise and media, less and less I witness art-forms, though talented, that evoke pure class and elegance. Classiness and elegance have become almost taboo and antiquated. I’ve even heard people mock classiness, culture, and elegance. Now, to be fair, I now live in a region that doesn’t have a strong sense of culture, but as the locals begrudgingly admit, “I was raised in culture.”
Here are some questions people not long ago could answer and people today may have to pause before answering at all: What is the difference between waltz and a Viennese waltz? Do you know the difference between a formal or casual dinner place setting? Do you know the difference between cocktail attire, semi-formal, and formal attire? What is business casual versus business professional? What is romance? What is a date versus dating? What is courting? What is good posture versus bad posture? What is chivalry? What is a gentleman? What is a lady? What is the difference between damask, taffeta, and silk? What is modesty? What is the difference between class and classiness? What are manners? What are kind words versus mean words? What is a cuss word? What is disrespectful language? How do you talk to a man? How do you address a woman? Do we call our relatives by their respective title followed by their name (i.e., Aunt Hannah,)? Is Sunday the Lord’s Day or a day of family? What is the difference between dinner and supper? Etc. Etc. Etc.
I rarely quote seculars on my blog (disclaimer: not advocating for all aspects of their lifestyle nor life choices), but here are some thoughts to ponder:
Simplicity is ultimate sophistication. – Leonardo da Vinci
A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous. – Coco Chanel
Elegance is when the inside is as beautiful as the outside. -Coco Chanel
The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before. – Albert Einstein
Elegance is the only beauty that never fades. – Audrey Hepburn
The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows and the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.– Audrey Hepburn