The curtain had just come down on the National Ballet of Canada and Canadian Ambassador Peter Towe was standing backstage at the Carter Barron Amphitheatre. "I brought the talent," said Towe, turning to Secretary of the Interior Cecil Andrus, "and he ordered the weather."
"I think," said Andrus, "we were a success."
Indeed, the weather was balmy although a bit humid at the outdoor amphitheater. It warmed up dancers' muscles quite nicely, but it made Giselle's toe shoes melt. "They are just layers of glue and they soften really fast," said Veronica Tennant, who danced Giselle last night in the ballet of the same name. "By the end of my solo in the first act, they looked like melted candlewax. I changed for the second act."
Tennant and Andrus and a host of others came backstage last night after the performance for a party complete with champagne to celebrate the opening of the ballet and the 13th anniversary of Carter Barron.
"I knew of course this was Secretary Andrus' facility," said Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti. "That was an added incentive for coming, but the main reason was ballet."
The guests were hardly political in conversation, but Civiletti offered a few musings on the latest to-do at the Republican Party National Headquarters. "I thought it was rather intriguing -- at first," said Civiletti about the sweep of offices for electronic bugs.
"But now it looks like it's all washed up. Everybody's hopes for a mini-scandal are dashed."
Martin Feintein spoke enthusiastically of the Washington Opera but guardedly about the National Symphony Orchestra, two organizations he heads. About the financially troubled National Symphony, he said "There we're having a lot of problems." Asked if he could bail it out, he said, "I don't know."
For Alastar Munro, ballet master of the Washington Ballet and a former dancer with the National Ballet of Canada, this was like old home week. "Ghosts! Ghosts!" cried Munro when he spied the ballet master, the ballet mistress and the head pianist from the National Ballet of Canada. When he saw Peter Schaufuss, the male lead in "Giselle," Munro greeted him with a big hug and a kiss on each cheek. "I left the Met two years ago," Munro told his friends. "I wasn't going to be a 40-year-old dancer."
The weather was not so perfect for George Crum, who conducted the orchestra in the pit by the stage where smoke rolled in from the artificial mist produced for the second act. "I'm used to it," said Crum with a grin. "It's always a little bit of fun. The orchestra members have to peer through, trying to find me."
Lloyd Axworthy, Canadian minister of Employment and Immigration and the Status of Women, just happened to be in town talking with American Officials about refugees and immigrants. So he stopped by to see the ballet. o"The only thing that worries me," he said, "is that my wife is on the board of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. She'll be very upset to see me here." Axworthy said of his all-encompassing job, "it's like being a goalie for the Washington Caps -- all you see are a lot of pucks coming your way."