Dressage Boots and Broadway

Judge Margaret Freeman applauds the use of true dress boots on Broadway

The costumer for “The Great Comet of 1812” on Broadway must have done some of her shopping at a tack shop.

I thought I might be pushing my luck last fall when I scheduled an eight-day trip to the Northeast in mid-winter, with four distinct phases. Every time I go back to New England in the winter, well, winter reminds me why I moved well south of the Mason-Dixon Line. And nearly every weekend that Dressage4Kids has held its winter Weekend Education Program, we’ve had some challenges befitting the season.

Not this time, although I cowered for four days in a motel room in Baltimore, Maryland, of all places, sitting out a bout of flu before I attempted to get back on a plane again, turning the eight-day trip into almost two weeks. So it wasn’t the weather that I should have fretted about but . . . well, I HAD a flu shot.

This was a thoroughly horsey trip, even without touching any horses after the first couple days, where I visited friends in Putnam County, New York, and taught some lessons. Then there was the weekend D4K, presenting lectures on showmanship and leading a judge forum for officials in New England/NY. Next I met my family in New York City for a couple days of museums and a Broadway show. Finally we were meeting wonderful old friends (horse friends from 40 years ago!) in Wilmington, Delaware, and were due to fly out of Baltimore, when I was struck down.

The New York phase was going to be the non-horsey portion, and we had tickets to “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812,” a current hit of Broadway based on “War and Peace,” of all things. Our seats were actually on the stage, which was like a cabaret with aisles for the performers snaking all around us. So with the boots of the Russian characters nose high and about two feet away, I couldn’t help but notice that they were wearing DRESSAGE BOOTS! with zippers. And gussets. And no-slip waffle soles. And “Spanish” tops. (Well, some had on field boots.) They looked like the real thing, not a stage imitation. I just imagined some tack shop had a really good sales day when the show’s costumer hauled in the entire male cast for fittings. The really impressive thing was the very enthusiastic and acrobatic dancing that went on in those boots.

(If you haven’t heard of the play yet, you will – It’s likely going to be the next big thing after “Hamilton,” and it was a wonderfully entertaining evening.)






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