The Many Cultural Pleasures Of VancouverFriday, November 16, 2007
Last night I attended a dance performance at the Vancouver Dance Centre on Davie and Granville. I went with VLM editor/art director Bob Mercer. I wanted him to see a bit of Vancouver's art scene. The evening featured Wen Wei Dance and Lola Dance. Neither Mercer nor I were disappointed by the evening's performances. If anything is showed how our local dance companies try to explore and innovate beyond established parameters of what dance "should" be. It reminded me of my first work years ago with Ballet BC dancer Lauri Stallings, below, right.
We were trying to go beyond the image of the ballerina as a swan. We wanted to show how ballerinas are women, who sweat and breathe. These photographs were a beginning for me in my search of what I now call anti-dance photographs. I also tried to to the same thing with the cliche idea that musicians can only be photographed in one way. With Vancouver Symphony violinist Karen Gerbrecht I took some pictures where we tried to convey her love/hate relationship with her violin. These attempts at taking uncliche photographs have helped me sharpen my approach to photography and portraiture.
What is most evident is that our city is not too large that one cannot chat, and compare notes with dancers, choreographers, musicians, composers, actors, directors and singers. I do it all the time and it part of the fun of attenting cultural performance in Vancouver.
Rebecca enjoys going back stage with me after Ballet BC events. In one very special one dancer Simone Orlando took Rebecca by the hand and went into her dressing room where she presented a thrilled Rebecca with a pair of her own pointe shoes. When Evelyn Hart comes to town we visit her backstage and Rebecca gives Hart peppermint patties so that she will gain weight. Rebecca is not afraid of chatting with very tall dancer Carolyn Farquhar or telling cellist Peggy Lee that her playing was superb.
I sometimes despair that more people do not take advantage of this wonderful pleasure.