Between Ballet and Reality TV: Finding a Middle Ground
One of the stereotypes about college students is their lack of interest, or lack of understanding of what the older generation consider to be culture. Students as a whole have garnered the reputation for sitting at home on their phone instead of going to art galleries or seeing the ballet. As a young person growing up in a dull town in Missouri, I was desperate to be set apart from this cliché. I worked to purposely dislike anything popular, anything that my teachers would have looked down on. If my classmates enjoyed it, I made sure I scoffed and got back to reading Pride and Prejudice.
Now, as a student experiencing freedom in a place as diverse and interesting as Boulder, I’ve been reconsidering this notion. As a young person, the thought of spending my Saturday nights in a museum of modern art does not fill me with butterflies of excitement. Yet, I enjoy opera. I enjoy classical music and the symphony (Beethoven’s 5th Piano Concerto “Emperor” is the ultimate masterpiece, I might add). I also enjoy going to see a silly movie with friends, and nothing relaxes me more than a quiet evening alone at home with RuPaul’s Drag Race.
So, where does this put me? Where does this put other students in Boulder? Boulder is filled to the brim with culture and art, but the party scene sparkles just as bright. For most, including myself for the longest time, these two aspects could not be reconciled. Yet, the more I consider it, the more I am coming to believe that perhaps there is a middle ground. Maybe there is somewhere realistic where students can enjoy the popular aspects of being young while also discovering the pleasures of the art. What I’ve come to understand is that there is nothing wrong with enjoying the harmless things that are marketed to you 一 even I won’t pretend that I haven’t seen the tortured saga of Bella and Edward through the Twilight films.
One of the most satisfying things that I did as a young person was to dismiss ‘cringe-culture’ and simply have fun with activities and hobbies aimed at my age range. So, as a message to all of my other college students, especially those with Twitter handles baring the infamous American Horror Story phrase; ‘Normal People Scare Me,’ allow yourself to find pleasure in basic things 一 like listening to the hottest new pop song or going to see the latest Marvel movie. Though, if a student has an interest in learning about art, there are a few good ways to go about it in Boulder.
A main critique of modern art is how over-intellectual and perhaps even purposely confusing it can be. One place in particular that this cannot be said for is the CU Art Museum. For students looking for a way to get into art, but haven’t any interest in being confused by it, this is the perfect place to start. Besides the temporary exhibits at the museum, there is a permanent collection which features a variety of historical artifacts and art pieces. Not only is going to the CU Art Museum a learning experience, it also does not try to be bewildering for the sake of being complicated. Also, as an added perk, it costs nothing to view the exhibits for a CU Student. This is one way to easily delve into the art world at CU, especially as a student.
However, if art galleries are simply not of interest, the Century Theatre located in the heart of 29th street in Boulder features two series which are of significant interest to a student looking into accessible culture on the cheap. First, the theatre is currently offering a collection of professionally shot recordings of the Metropolitan Opera’s 2018-2019 season. All one would need to do is glance through the screenings available on their website. While opera has become almost a joke for featuring screaming women and rich people squinting through opera glasses, opera can actually be a transcending experience if one is introduced to it properly.
A way in which opera can be limiting is the significant amount of money it would cost to receive tickets and travel to somewhere like New York to see a live performance. However, with the Met series offered by the Century Theatre, a student like myself can see a high quality performance only by taking a short trip to 19th street and paying around the cost of a typical movie screening. This ties in directly to the other series offered at Century Theatre; Cinemark Events. This series features screenings of professionally shot recordings of ballets from some of the finest venues in the world. Ballet is, arguably, more accessible than opera and perhaps more pleasurable for some. Although there is a ‘language’ to ballet which may make it difficult to understand in the beginning, a quick Google search of the ballets’ general plot – which is typically fairly basic – makes the experience much easier to dissect.
The older I get, the less concerned I am with impressing people, and the more at peace I am with being able to partake in the things that I enjoy, whether it be ballet or reality TV. I have come to understand that these two aspects of life are not totally incompatible, and as a student, college is a perfect time to discover what interests me. The only thing I can really say to my fellow students is not to let stigma or ‘cringe-culture’ keep you from taking part in the harmless interests and hobbies that attract you.