Valentine’s Day might just be the most over-hyped non-holiday holiday. If you’re in a relationship, the expectation that you have to execute the most romantic of all romantic nights come February 14 besieges you on all ends, from restaurants, florists, jewellery stores and hotels reminding you buy all the romantic things.
And if you’re single, this deluge of V-Day information just serves to remind you that you don’t have a special someone.
That’s where ballet dancers come in. Wait, what?
No, hear me out. Dance is apparently the language of love, and ballet dancers have performed some of the world’s most romantic ballets (Swan Lake! Romeo and Juliet! Giselle – she loved him so much she didn’t ghost him, you guys!).
So I’m willing to bet that they know a thing or two about romancing someone.
And if you just feel like doing you this Valentine’s, or happen to be single (and fabulous! Exclamation mark!), dancers would know all about that too.
They have to take care of their bodies in order to train and perform to gruelling schedules. This pretty much makes them the kings and queens of self-care.
That’s why I asked a whole bunch of professional dancers to tell me what their dream date-night and their dream date-yourself-night would look like.
So this Valentines Day, if you’re racking your brains for what to do with your special person, or if you want to do something by yourself that doesn’t involve eating an entire tub of ice cream while singing ‘All By Myself’ as you wait for Colin Firth to show up, read on!
As BalletWest’s Allison DeBona puts it, nothing would sound sweeter than the words “pack your bags and throw your computer away!” from a significant other. Preferably “for a surprise trip to the Blue Lagoon,” she says.
Houston Ballet’s Harper Watters likes to dream big: “we take a private jet at the spur of the moment to an exotic location. Or Vegas! A surprise element is involved – ideally a Beyonce concert.”
It sounds fantastical, but Harper knows what’s really important when it comes to a romantic night: “As long as I say, ‘awwwww’ and Nutella is involved, I’m happy.” I hope you’re taking notes, Harper’s future boyfriend.
For Staatasballett Bayerisches’ Jeanette Kakareka, vacations are a tried-and-true dream date. She and her boyfriend Jin spent last Valentine’s in Napoli, Italy, so going “somewhere special with my boyfriend” is her fantasy date. It’s a winning formula, so why mess with perfection.
A NICE VIEW WITH A SIDE OF CARBS
For early-rising and/or budget conscious romantics, Juliet Doherty’s simple suggestion sounds like a dream – “a sunrise with coffee!”
If you’re more of a night person, American Ballet Theatre’s Lauren Post has the perfect plan for you. “Sunset cocktails outdoors overlooking the water. Maybe on a boat! Then dinner at at Al di La in Brooklyn with lots of good wine and pasta, ending with a nice stroll home picking up ice cream cones along the way.”
Or if you’re budget conscious and a night person, take ABT soloist Skylar Brandt’s suggestion: “ordering in food and playing video games!” Nothing says love quite like beating your crush at Mario Kart – because you respect them too much to let them win, obviously.
Royal Danish Ballet principal Jonathan Chmelensky echoes the combination of carbs and cocktails: “a nice overly expensive drink at some fancy cocktail bar,” is how he would kick off his dream date night, “followed by some nice sushi at a cozy Japanese restaurant – the type were the chef is literally in front of you making your food.”
Lou Spichtig from Queensland Ballet enjoys dinner with a view too, albeit with more calcium – “my dream date looks like a really epic cheese platter shared with the person I love in a beautiful spot – preferably the beach or overlooking a skyline.”
And what’s a dream date without some dream boyfriends? “Michael B Jordan and Timothée Chalamet switch teams and confess their true love for me, but instead of granting their wish, we spend the entire night hatching a plan to popularize ballet into mainstream media,” says Harper Watters. Well as the old adage goes: if you dream it, you can achieve it.
NETFLIX AND CHILL (WITH CARBS)
For a lot of dancers, the ultimate treat-yoself date is a night alone, living your best life via the life-changing magic of “Netflix and literally chillin” as Jonathan Chmelensky put it.
In his case, it would ideally be accompanied by “eating equal amounts of cheese and pasta until I’m literally in a gluten coma”.
Jeanette Kakareka wants to eat “a dinner I didn’t cook by myself,” while snuggled in her warmest duvet watching How I Met Your Mother. She isn’t too keen on the season finale (who is?), but it’s still her top binge-watch.
Lauren Post’s TV picks are Marvelous Mrs Maisel and Call the Midwife (“obsessed!”) and “the new season of Mindhunter”, chased down with pizza and a glass of wine. Or “a long bath with a good book – I’m reading Educated right now! Cannot put it down!”
LIVE IT UP (BUT STILL WITH CARBS)
The irrepressible Harper Watters prefers to live it up by “throwing a singles-only party. Beyonce’s Single Ladies and the entire ‘Thank U, Next’ album are on repeat the entire night.”
As for the food of choice: “Papa John’s heart-shaped pizzas.” Of course. Inviting myself to that party now.
NO NETFLIX, JUST CHILL.
Allison DeBona and Lou Spichtig’s very sensible date-yourself nights involve catching up on sleep – because which working adult on this planet isn’t sleep-deprived, really.
Allison would also throw a nice massage into the mix, as would Juliet Doherty, who dreams of 8 hour foot massages.
New mum Allison would be happy to let her dream date-yourself night spill over to a day and a half’s worth of sleep. But after a solid 10 hours, Lou can hear the avocado toast calling to her and would rouse herself for “a good brunch”.
Skylar Brandt’s fantasy date night involves chilling, “ordering in food and playing video games”.
Because whether you’re single or attached this Valentine’s, no one can say no to takeout, and nothing says self-love quite like trying to complete the 100-baby challenge in the Sims.