Ballet, Films, Book

Rick and I were so lucky to get tickets from April and Steven Kieburtz to see Ulysses Dove’s Three by Dove performed by the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle  last Thursday (3/18/10).   I have never seen such a blend of ballet and modern dance fused so beautifully together!  I can only imagine how difficult it was for the Pacific Northwest Ballet dancers to let go of the formality of classical dance and move into the realm of Dove’s modern expressions of movement.  It was an outstanding performance!

The accompanying music was exciting and set to a heart throbbing tempo, and the electric violin amazing (now Rick is dreaming of buying an electric violin!).  I want to get a recording of the music if at all possible.

Never have I been to a performance where time seemed to fly so fast.     I got up that morning at 5 a.m, taught all day, and had a doctor’s appointment just before the performance, so my eyes were dilated and I was a bit out of sorts.  It is not unusual for me to nod off at performances.  But not this time.  I was at the edge of my seat the whole time.  Three by Dove was visually stunning and unique.  The dancers were flowingly beautiful.

Sensual Pleasures was one of my favorites in terms of power and intensity.  It was wonderful to see the male dancers dance this piece.   However, Red Angels was a visual feast and my favorite.  It was as if the dancers grew wings and took flight.  To see the women ballet dancers let their hair flow (instead of pulled back tightly) was thrilling.  Generally, I think of ballet dancers as graceful, poised, disciplined, but tonight’s dancers were all that and MORE.  They were downright sensual!

I absolutely loved the choreography.  In the first scene the women jump –no, they fly- onto chairs, defying gravity.  Their bird-light bodies land so gracefully onto the chairs.  It was exhilarating.  In fact, Bob Parks, who was also at the performance, jokingly asked me during intermission if we could practice jumping onto chairs at our next yoga session!  Well, actually, the next time I saw him, we really did.  I got the chairs out for our session and to my surprise, up he jumped-might I add effortlessly- onto the chair. Didn’t quite look like the ballet dancers, but it was impressive nonetheless.

On another note, it was interesting to run into so many people I knew at the ballet.  What a wonderful Thursday evening!

We watched a fun movie last night, New York, I Love You

I think of this film as a series of vignettes, all done by various well-known directors who obviously love New York City.  The vignettes are so nicely put together and I was left wondering how the film was so successful at capturing the massively complex, thriving spirit of New York City!

New York, I Love You reminded me of Paris, Je T’Aime which I saw a few months ago.

My guess is that the two films are companion pieces to one another.   They go together, hand in hand.  This film consists of 18 vignettes, all directed by various well known international directors and woven so beautifully together. An ode to the lover of all things Parisian.  Again, I was amazed to see how perfectly the film captured the essence of today’s Paris.

I also recently watched Departures.

A few people recommended this film, directed by Yojiro Takita.  I am so happy I saw it.  It is a tender film that captures the very sensitive core of the Japanese culture.  You can see the tenderness in our main character, a former cellist, who gets a job as a nakanshi, a person who prepares a corpse in a ceremonial way for the casket and for the  cremation.

I think it is a sensitive, private look into love, relationships, marriage, parenting, responsibility/duty  to family, losing loved ones, and grieving/mourning.  Having lived in Japan for three years, I was pleased to see this film.  I think it shows such a feeling part of life in Japan.

And then there is the book I just finished reading, All Souls Rising by Madison Smartt Bell.

It is a  very hard book to read, but a very important read, nonetheless.  Apparently, my understanding is that  not many books have been written dealing with this subject of the slave rebellion and the eventual emancipation in Haiti in the late 1700’s.  Historical fiction has always been one of my favorite genres.  This book consists of horrific scenes, human brutality at its worst, and yet a deep understanding of how such a setting gave rise to this account of the slave rebellion.  Race, slavery, colonialism.  In short, this is history at its worst and historical story telling at its best.

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