Looking back at 2011

newyear As we head full steam into 2012, let’s take a moment to look back at last year. 2011 was a rough 12 months with seemingly more downs than ups in the world at large. Many of us may have left the year behind with glee, being more than ecstatic that such a horrible year was over, and ever hopeful that the next year couldn’t possibly be any worse.

Of course, not everything was bad. There were bright spots in the year of happiness, accomplishment, and hope. Lest we forget what last year held for us, here’s a brief breakdown of 2011 by month:

January

  • The year got off to a rough start as a madman went on a shooting spree in Arizona, killing a federal judge and wounding Representative Gabrielle Giffords with a near-fatal gunshot. The bright spot? They got the man, and Representative Giffords recovered and returned to the chamber just time time to cast her vote on the 2011 Debt Ceiling Crisis.
  • Chinese President Hu Jintao visited the White House in a major diplomatic appearance. He acknowledged that there was much to be done to improve the lot of the Chinese people.

February

  • The second month of the year saw a culmination of a revolt that began in January in Egypt. The Middle East was rocked as Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was forced to resign on February 11. The stability of the Middle East would become further impugned as “Arab Spring” gathered momentum and continued to spread.
  • sheen On a slightly more amusing (albeit still disturbing) note, the American public got to enjoy the meltdown of Charlie Sheen as he began to deliver his somewhat crazed and highly incomprehensible raves. We look on as the highest paid actor in television history methodically self-destructs.
  • In the arts world, Spiderman the Musical opens on Broadway, having cost approximately $75 million to produce. It also experience major setbacks as actors and audience members are injured from a faulty flying system, and Spiderman breaks his neck.
  • football On a happy note, we were all able to enjoy an action-packed Superbowl as the Steelers and the Packers met for some head-to-head passing, tackling, and punting! The Packers won 31-25.

March

  • The month began with the Space Shuttle Discovery landing for the last time.
  • japan_flag Two days later, on March 11, Japan is rocked by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, which results in a tsunami hitting the northeast coast. 20,000 people died, property damage was incalculable, and the Fukushima nuclear facility was massively damaged – the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.
  • The race for the 2012 election also began when former House Speaker Newt Gingrich announced his intention to seek the Republican presidential nomination.
  • Oh yeah, and the football that brought us a measure of joy in February took a turn for the worse in March as the NFL lockout began and contract negotiations broke down.

April

  • April was a fairly bright month, as the travesties plaguing the year thus far took a break. The month began with the federal government finally reaching a budget agreement, thus averting an imminent, and possibly catastrophic, government shutdown.
  • crown The month ended with the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton on April 29. The extravagant affair was televised across the world, providing a much needed escape for over 2,000,000,000 viewers!

May

  • Another relatively good month! May began with the capture and death of global terrorist Osama bin Laden. U.S. elite forces stormed his Pakistani compound and took the terrorist’s life. Bin Laden was later buried at sea.
  • We all waited with baited breath on May 21 for Harold Camping’s prophesy of Rapture to be fulfilled – it wasn’t.
  • The month ended with a fond farewell and the end of a legacy as Oprah Winfrey broadcasts her final show.
  • Of course, we did gloss over the beginning of more political scandals – such as Congressman Weiner’s inappropriate tweeting.

June

  • This month began in the political arena with Mitt Romney announcing his bid for Republican candidacy and Congressman Weiner finally admitting that he did indeed send illicit tweets. (The congressman then later resigned.)
  • President Obama announced that he would be bringing home 33,000 troups from Afghanistan by next summer.
  • malesymbols New York became the largest state to decide to mind its own business and  legalize same-sex marriage.

July

  • Not such a pleasant month with more political scandal as six weeks after announcing his illegitimate child, Governor Schwarzenegger found himself staring down the barrel of divorce.
  • In a shocking twist, Casey Anthony was found not-guilty on counts of murder, manslaughter, and child abuse of her 2-year old daughter, Caylee.
  • shuttle_endeavour In a momentous occasion for Unites States space flight, the Space Shuttle Atlantis made its final landing, officially ending NASA’s shuttle program. The U.S. is now dependant on foreign rockets to get our astronauts into space.
  • On the bright side, the NFL lockout ended as the management and the players came to an agreement. Football would have a season!

August

  • The federal government continued to struggle to reach an agreement on the debt ceiling crisis and avoid a national fiscal catastrophe. They did eventually hammer out an agreement, and continued spending insane amounts of money that the country did not have, while the issue of spending cuts went into committee for solving at a later date.
  • Of course, the budget decisions came too late, and Standard and Poor downgraded the U.S. credit rating for the first time since assigning the nation’s AAA rating in 1917.
  • A 5.8 magnitude earthquake stuck the U.S. capital.
  • Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is overthrown in the wake of the continued Arab Spring.

September

  • 9-11 On a somber, yet oddly uplifting note, the month began as we honored the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks with the opening of a memorial plaza at ground zero.
  • Occupy Wall Street began leading to a nationwide Occupy protest by citizens who were fed up with the status quo. Naming themselves the “99%,” occupiers protested perceived socio-economic injustices.
  • In a majorly progressive step, “don’t ask, don’t tell” was finally repealed, allowing gay and lesbian service members to openly serve their county with pride.
  • On the ongoing budgetary carousel, once again a last-minute congressional action approved a spending deal and avoided government shut-down.

October

  • apple The world of innovation and technology took a blow as Apple’s co-founder and president, Steve Jobs, passed away.
  • Northeastern United States was hit by a massive snow storm with record snow falls – essentially ruining Halloween.
  • kardashian Of course, we all were able to chuckle just a bit at celebrity antics as, just three months after her $10 million wedding, Kim Kardashian called it quits on her marriage. So much for true love in the limelight.
  • The month ended with us all feeling a little bit more cramped as the United Nations announced that the world population has surpassed 7 billion!

November

  • Just when we could all use an extra laugh in our lives, loveable curmudgeon and longtime 60 Minutes commentator Andy Rooney passed away at 92.
  • jackson In the never ending saga of Michael Jackson’s death, the King of Pop’s doctor was finally convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
  • Republican Presidential hopeful, Herman Cain, was accused of sexual harassment in yet another of the endless line of political scandals.
  • The committee that was supposed to find budget cuts, following the raising of the debt ceiling in August, failed. Instead, budget cuts set in place under an earlier agreement will take place in 2013.
  • On a lighter note, Egypt experienced a peaceful election in the first parliamentary election since Mubarak’s ousting in February.

December

In the last month of a decidedly drear year, things began to look up as the U.S. Labor Department announced that the unemployment rate fell to 8.6% in November – the lowest since March, 2006.

In the science world, physicists announced that they were close to finally locating the Higgs boson particle – a fundamental piece in understanding how the universe works and a step toward discovering a Unified Theory of Physics.

jong Kim Jong Il, North Korean dictator, died and left his son in charge. Only time will tell what this means for the world.

Americans come frighteningly close to a hike in the payroll tax, which would have meant a $1,500 increase in taxes for the average American. Congress pulled through and implemented a temporary tax-cut.

iraq On a hugely bright note, the year closed with the official ending of the war in Iraq, and a mass exodus of U.S. troupes heading home!

 

It was a hard year, you cannot deny that. Yet even during the hard times we can find bits and pieces of light. Momentous occasions such as a Royal Wedding or the final flight of the space shuttle, or frivolous occasions like the Super Bowl or Oprah’s final show are always around to help lighten the mood.

And when it seems like times are tough, remember that this too shall pass and someday you will be able to look back and tell your children or your grandchildren that, “I was there when . . .”

Never forget that when life is hard, you always have the arts to count on as a means of relaxation, escape, and fantasy. In a cities like San Diego, New York, and San Francisco, you can’t walk down the street without the arts hitting you in the face. And while television is an easy out, there is no substitution for live theater. The thrill of dressing up, experiencing emotional catharsis with hundreds of other people, live music, live dance . . . there is no substitution.

In 2011 California Ballet Company presented you with A Touch of the Classics which brought you tastes of Swan Lake, Le Corsaire, and Sleeping Beauty. We also gave you Alice in Wonderland for a fun, colorful, and nonsensical romp. And, of course, we offered The Nutcracker, which is the perfect way to lighten up the end of an otherwise dreary year.

Classical ballet is often times misconstrued as stodgy or boring, but it has a wide capacity for levity! And there is nothing as entrancing as watching a fairy or a princess float across the floor, lighter than air. But whether or not you choose ballet as your escape, make sure that when times get tough and you’re feeling down, you make your way to the theater. It’s a guaranteed upper and a quick fix for malaise.

_DSC7062 copy Now that 2012 is on the way, we will continue to offer you chances to escape the troubles and tribulations of the real world by going to the theater! Next up on the small stage is our annual Choreographer’s Concert, time and location to be announced.

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And in May, we are excited to present Cinderella at the San Diego  Civic Theatre!

Tickets will be on sale soon. For information contact the California Ballet Ticketing Office.

By Phone: 858-560-6741

Or online at: www.californiaballet.org/season/cinderella

Have a happy and prosperous 2012!

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