My Fading Agenda
Saturday, May 23, 2015
Fortunately this May 2015 I don’t need an appointment book,
a diary or an agenda. And the reason for this has nothing to do with the fact
that my now old-fashioned 3G iPhone might help to organize me.
The little organization in my life depends on my memory and
a Royal Bank calendar that is held to our brand new Frigidaire,the cheapest we could find at
the Brick just a couple of days ago. The calendar on which Rosemary writes down
our medical appointments (we are old) or our theatre outings (many) is held by
two of the most powerful little magnets (rare earth they are) money can buy at Lee
My last hard copy diary was a cheap (fake Italian leather
that I bought in 2009 at Sears, the Robson and Granville store. Since then I
have done without.
Every time I open the Italian job and go to the phone
numbers at the end I am faced by friends and contacts that have died, moved on
or gone bankrupt. But I still make the motions of opening the diary. It is
In the 80s I had Letts Diaries. I liked the full pages at
the end for telephone numbers and the full page per day for my illegible scribblings.
Sometime at the end of the 90s Letts eliminated the full
page telephone number pages. I switched to the more expensive (beautifully made
with real leather covers. These were made by Graphic Image in Melville, New
York. The only place I could find these were in a store in Seattle. Then in the
later part of the 2000s I found out that Holt Renfrew sold them and if I bought
them early they would put my initials on the cover at no charge.
I am reluctant to throw away my Graphic Image diaries (I
have long since done away with the Letts.) but I know it is inevitable as I
prepare to lighten my many possessions load.
I still use the Italian job and I always smile at the
book mark I used even though the diary came with a black ribbon. The book mark
is still there.
A diary in Spanish is bitácora. It comes from the French
bitacle or habitacle which was a sort of cabinet where a marine compass was
stored in a ship. In Spanish it is the case next to the wheel where the compass
is stored to be viewed. A captain's log is a bitácora.
But in reference to this blog (web log) about diaries I must
note that the proper (but seldom used) word for a blog in Spanish is that
lovely bitácora. With globalization and the universal importance of English a
blog in Spanish is “un blog”. To properly say in Spanish “click here” you would çommand “presione aquí”.
But Spanish speaking people opt for what they call a galicismo which is “cliquee
aquí”. And, of course, while página red ( a page net) is the correct term if I am to make myself understood to those friends of mine who only speak Spanish I must say, "La web," or "página web."
Study For A Dance In The Future - James Kudelka
Friday, May 22, 2015
|Nicole Ward & Albert Galindo - Study for a Dance in the Future - May 22 2015|
We live in a moment
of history where change is so speeded up that we begin to see the present only
when it is already disappearing.
To this day I remember that day that as a very young boy (8)
I grew up. I grew up because my imagination failed.
In our Buenos Aires back garden we had a shack (we called it
a galpón). There was a large wooden crate without a top. I would get inside it
and with four bricks (one leaning on the other at 45 degrees) they were my brake
and clutch pedals. With a broom stick and an old tricycle wheel I had a
steering wheel. I would sit on a bench. It took a few seconds before my crate
became one of Juan Manuel Fangio’s racing cars and I his surrogate. I, we, won man races.
On that day the crate did not magically turn into a Fangio’s
racer. It was a crate. This was my first step in growing up.
Now at age 72 I have (in my heart) become a youth thanks to
the dancers of the Arts Umbrella Dance Company and in particular because of
|Top left, Albert Galindo, Andrew Haydock & Tristan Ghostkeeper, sitting Charlie Prince & Jayson Syrette|
At age 72, a married man with two daughters and two
granddaughters, my sexual preferences are not suspect nor do I believe that I
should make any complicated explanations as to the why I love these boys of the
Arts Umbrella Dance Company. I must state that tonight after the second
performance (I went to the previous one on the 21st
and a dress
rehearsal) knowing I could not attend the last show on Saturday night, I felt a
sense of loss in that three of the five would be gone by the end of June (two
will remain in the Company until next year). I gave them all a hug and for a
second, while not being Fangio, I was a young man greeting and saying goodbye to
what felt like lifelong school friends.
The whole Company is aware (they smile, when they see me, what are they thinking?) that I have a preference for the
Spaniard Albert Galindo. The other four boys are spectacular, too, and many of the
young women are excellent, glamorous and in many ways my faves. Many of the girls and
the boys I saw years back as young boys and girls. They (the Senior Dance Company)
have matured. They are women and men.
There is something about dance (like sound) that is so ephemeral. My
blurry photographs of these dancers’ movements while music to my eyes, they also
tell me that those blurs will fade to nothing and what will remain will be fond
I can remember that sometime in the late 70s the Alvin Ailey
Company came to Vancouver and with my wife and two daughter we witnessed a
dance that featured white costumes (dresses and suits) and white parasols. To my ignorant amazement
all the dancers were black. What I remember is sort of like my dance photo
blurs with a tinge of summer blues and heat.
Many of the 15 dance works performed by the Arts Umbrella
Dance Company at this year’s Season Finale at the Vancouver Playhouse were
brand new especially commissioned for the Company. I know that with rare
exceptions many of these will blur into memory and probably will never be
That is the tragedy of dance. Some assert that it also makes
Few in Vancouver know of the protocols involved in
mounting the works of well-known choreographers. For one you usually must pay a royalty
fee just as you would to produce a musical such as West Side Story. Good things
are not free nor are they cheap.
In dance protocol the choreographer or a representative has
to be present during the early rehearsals. If the choreographer lives in Europe
you must pay air fares and put the choreographer in a good hotel and pay for
transportation and meals.
Few in Vancouver are aware that in some cases deals can be
made if there are connections with the choreographer to lighten fee deals. I
would believe that John Alleyne who showered us with wonderful William Forsythe
pieces during his tenure at Ballet BC might have had connections not only through
his personal talent but through Ballet
Frankfurt (years ago it was Forsythe’s domain) and two alumni, Crystal Pite and
Emily Molnar who both danced for that exalted company.
I cannot begin to guess what pull Artemis Gordon and her
Arts Umbrella Dance Company have to not only bring famous choreographers to
Vancouver but also what she does to convince them to design a dance from scratch for her boys and girls.
Of the fifteen dances I saw my favourite in the end was one
I only saw once tonight. It was James Kudelka’s Study for a Dance in the
In the 90s I loved Kudelka’s 15
Heterosexual Duets. One particular duet featured Lauri Stallings and her red
hair. The dance was choreographed (almost like a woman’s shampoo commercial)
for flowing long hair. In a brilliant (but I still did not like it) ploy
Alleyne cast Acacia Schachte (an alumnus of Arts Umbrella) to dance that duet
with her short cropped hair! Another duet had Andrea Hodge and Miroslav Zydowicz knotting and un-knotting each other virtually without moving from one spot. Read below about R.D. Laing's Knots.
Kudelka’s Study for a Dance in the Future feature all 25
dancers of the Senior Company. They were all dressed in black. My 12-year-old
granddaughter Lauren Stewart (who has been dancing at Arts Umbrella for 5
years) informed me that Kudelka eliminated for this dance the legs of the
stage. I did not have the faintest idea of what Lauren was talking about. It
seems that her teacher Lina Fitzner (an ex-alumnus of Arts Umbrella) in a class
explained the workings of a dance stage and that for Study for a Dance in the
Future Kudelka did without what I thought were called the black wing curtains
of the stage. They are legs! This made the stage much larger and it enabled us
to see all what was going on at any minute.
The range of what
we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to
notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change; until we
notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.
Kudelka’s dance featured my fave male dancer Albert Galindo
in a work that instantly reminded me of the black cover of R.D. Laing’s 1970
book Knots. Laing was (he died in 1989) a Scottish Psychiatrist. The Kudelka
physically had the tangling and untangling of human knots and chains with
Galindo going here or there seeking humanity, a human touch in what
increasingly is a world without it. The word that came to mind tonight was one
that I have not pondered about for years, alienation. Galindo’s narrow face and sunken eyes reinforced the idea of
the frustration that people must feel in this 21st century.
There is no doubt in my mind that Galindo and his four male cronies (not to mention all those women) will circumvent the frustrations of
this 21st century and all will find their place in the sun, most
probably on a dance stage.
Some of us know that after the Season Finale it’s not all
over. In June not only the Senior Dance Company and the Apprentice Dance
Company but all the rest of Arts Umbrella Dance family will be performing
(including my Lauren). This means I can prepare myself for the eventual (and I
hope only internal) tearful goodbye to
my boys (and yes equal time) the girls, too.
For my money Ms. Gordon (Artemis Gordon) you could not do better than to include Study for a Dance in the Future in June. I will be there - with my renewed imagination.