Sandrine Cassini - Dancer - Woman
Saturday, November 25, 2017
Guest Blog - Sandrine Cassini - Dancer - Woman
|Sandrine Cassini - November 25 2017|
Dance was not love at first sight for me. I started when I
was 7 years old and basically I wanted to stop at 7 and a half. But something
happened at the end of this first year of school, an exam on stage at the Opera
de Nice and I started to feel this will be something good...within the next
year, dance woul be my life.
Becoming a ballerina will be my only dream and I worked
really hard to pursue it..What did it mean at the time to be a ballerina? It
meant dancing all the famous parts I wanted to dance, to be very thin, keep my
hair long, walk a certain way and devote myself to the art form.There would be no eating cake
for me, rollerblading or flirting with boys. Being a ballerina was the only
goal, expectation - there was no other alternative.
At 16 my school sent me to the competition in Lausanne and I
insisted to dance William Forsythe's "In the Middle" .I had idolised
Sylvie Guillem dancing the work with her red hair and short cut. In this part, I cut my hair and
dyed it. Suddenly I looked a little different from the ballerina I expected
to be at first. My dream was the same but my appearance changed slightly. I
remembered a ballet mistress at the Paris Opera Ballet telling me how
disrespectful I was because I had a bangs.
Throughout these years, I never called myself a ballerina. For
me it always implied being blond and really skinny, with long straight hair
falling on one side. I could only define myself as a dancer. A woman? Not
really. A dancer.is someone who will be on a quest, a constant search for
perfection, but a woman? I didn't even ask myself what it was...life revolved
around dance and dance only.
Then, Vancouver came (Ballet BC 2003) and my love for music
took me by surprise; so did this musician I saw who played at the Railway Club
who stole my heart away. This heart had been beating for ballet all my life.
Was it the same for him, me being a dancer who was interesting but not
I was the ears who could
tell him his music was beautiful...and suddenly something shifted. I was still
a dancer of course, but not only that, I was a dancer who loved music and who
was desperately in love...and it made me think...watching live music brought a level of happiness watching dance rarely reached. Was I getting away from being a
ballerina or just shaping myself into a woman who is a ballerina ?
| Sandrine Cassini - January 2004|
Since being in Vancouver, my love for music and musicians have
always been a great part or my life But so is dance. Dance saved me from
depression, dance was my only refuge when my heart got broken, dance will
always be running in my veins...but I no longer look like the ballerina I once
thought I would become.
I now have tattoos and I want a new one, my hair is curly,
sometimes short, and sometimes long, I fall in and out of love. I cannot
function without music in my head...but my dedication for my work has never
changed. Does accepting being a woman make me a better artist? I certainly do
think so, but it took me decades to erase the voices of my teachers warning us
once we started living we would lose focus. Maybe it's their fault if it took
me so long to accept myself as a woman who is a dancer.
There are compromises
in that there are two things I now understand.
Dance will be forever in my life and has shaped me the way I
am but not only dance.
Life has happened and life as a ballerina who stopped being
afraid of living is who I am now.
There are two salient facts that Cassini did not mention above. She started dancing at the Paris Opera Ballet when she was 14 which explains my photograph of her imitating Degas's Little Ballerina Aged 14. The other is that she danced at for the Montecarlo Ballet and while there she was photographed twice by Helmut Newton.
The reason for Cassini's essay is that while staying recently at our house (10 days) I told her I wanted to take two portraits of her. In one she would have her hair down as a woman and in the second her hair up as the dancer. She objected to my idea saying that the woman and the dancer could not be separated.
The Good & the Not So Good
Friday, November 24, 2017
|Above - Anita Samuda-Holler - below Carmen Samuda-Lehman|
As a 75 year-old obsolete-redundant & retired
photographer I have lots of perhaps useful information in my head gained from
having made many mistakes through the years.
I still insist that even as an OR&R you are as good as
your last photograph. Tonight I will be taking portraits of the exquisite
French dancer Sandrine Cassini in my little studio.
|Angela & Rita Samuda|
And looking back to the late 70s when I began to shoot
photographs in Vancouver I wrote about the Samuda twins and two sisters (4 in
. I had photographed them for a very good talent agency. I knew very little
of what I was doing but somehow the portrait side of me and not my vacant
talent for fashion side of me prevailed and I managed to take pleasant
photographs of four beautiful women.
I really failed with the twins as they
were not strictly identical. The tricks I attempted did not work.
With the sisters I managed. But I want to show here how my
concept of modeling shots was off. Why would I have photographed them in
bikinis on top of a dresser? Why would I have used a wide angle shot from a low
angle? And please note the plant coming out of Angela's head! You live and learn and I did manage to live and learn.
The four Samudas are in my thoughts as I recently contacted
Rita Samuda and she sent a photograph of 6 of them and furthermore she informed me
that a seventh sister is currently in California and will return in the spring.
You might guess that I could not resist in telling them I wanted them to all pose for me. I cannot wait!
George Bowering Reads From Jerome Charyn's Winter Warning
Thursday, November 23, 2017
|George Bowering reads from Jerome Charyn's Winter Warning |
Upon reading Jerome Charyn’s introduction to his latest
novel Winter Warning
featuring his ex New York City Police Commissioner Isaac Sidel
who ends up President of the United States in the 1980s I was astounded by
Anybody who may read my blogs would suspect that I am a fan
of Jerome Charyn. But few would know that Canada’s first Canadian Poet Laureate
is not only a fan but he happens to own most if not all of
Charyn’s over 70 (novels, non fiction, comics in French etc.) literary output.
I had the idea of having Bowering read part of that
introduction. I thought this was going to be easy.
It was not.
My old Olympus voice recorder had no USB connection for
transfer to my computer. I bought a Sony machine that had that feature.
The instructions for its use were serpentine so I went to my
friend Paul Leisz’s house in Richmond, BC for help. Leisz solved my doubts and lent me a good
microphone and stand.
I recorded Bowering who read with delight and punctuated it
all with some choice four-letter words. My Rosemary told me that it was not
acceptable for the Poet Laureate of Canada to be heard saying those words.
Amazingly the Sony captured the warmth and beauty of
Bowering’s voice with fidelity. I had no idea how to convert the recording into an MP-3
file. Leisz stepped in for help.
I sent the file to Jerome Charyn’s wife Lenore Riegel. Her
son Sam is a Disney sound engineer. This
is what Riegel wrote:
I don't know if you are aware that my son Sam is the head
voice director for Disney cartoons and integrally involved in the world of
animation, video games and online gaming.
He works closely with Mark Kondraki, head of OutLoud Audio - and they
are close friends. Here is OutLoud's
website - they are TOPS!
I sent your recording to Mark and asked him to have his
staff gently drop out or bleep the f-bombs so you can post a PG version
wherever you like. Without destroying
the charming and free-wheeling nature of George's recording.
I'm sure he will make sure his company does a professional
job as a courtesy to Sam. Mark already
helped us out at his NY studio by recording JC's walking tour of the lower east
side (for the PocketGuide app) and it turned out wonderfully - here's more
Riegel sent me the file back minus the offensive words even
though Bowering told me he was not concerned!
Now putting an MP-3 file into a blog is not simple thing.
Leisz finally solved the problem by placing it into YouTube. The link is this one
In many ways I feel like a pilot of a fighter jet in a
photograph showing the support team needed to keep the plane flying!
There are some connections between Bowering and Charing. Both are prolific and both are interested and passionate about baseball.
Bowering and I share an interest in the Mexican Baseball League. Both Charyn and I play ping-pong. Charyn may be the only novelist to have ever written of a protagonist, a policeman who is shot while playing .
That Not-So-Cute Guppy
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
|Guppy Class Submarine|
As an Argentine my interest is focused on the search for the
disappeared submarine ARA San Juan.
My knowledge of submarines is limited to guppies. It was
only recently through Wikipedia that I found out that the Guppy Class of
American submarines (WWII vintage) was a cute acronym that was perhaps so by
The Greater Underwater Propulsion Power Program (GUPPY) was
initiated by the United States Navy after World War II to improve the submerged
speed, manoeuvrability, and endurance of its submarines. (The "Y" in
the acronym was added for pronounceability.)
The navy began the program by testing and reverse
engineering two captured German Type XXI U-boats: U-2513 and U-3008. That
analysis led to four goals—increasing the submarines' battery capacity,
streamlining the boats' structures, adding snorkels, and improving fire control
systems. The navy immediately focused on designing a new class of submarines,
but the Bureau of Ships believed the fleet of existing Gato, Balao, and Tench
class submarines could be modified to incorporate the desired improvements. In June
1946, the Chief of Naval Operations approved the GUPPY project. The initial
two-boat test program, implemented by the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, eventually
grew into several successive conversion programs. Those upgrades proceeded in
seven variants, in the following order: GUPPY I, GUPPY II, GUPPY IA, Fleet
Snorkel, GUPPY IIA, GUPPY IB, and GUPPY III. Some boats that went through an
early phase were then upgraded further in a later phase.
A similar programme for the Royal Navy involved
modifications to 24 wartime and post-war British T- and A-class submarines,
which were provided with streamlined hulls, sail-type conning towers, and
increased underwater performance during 1948-60.
While being a conscript seconded,1966-67,(from the Argentine Navy,
Armada República Argentina or ARA for short) to the Senior US Naval Advisory
group I had the job of translating documents of all kinds. I wrote personal
letters for my boss Captain USN Onofrio Salvia but I also had the tough job of
helping to write operating and maintenance manuals for “surplus” US Navy
equipment that the Argentine Navy purchased from the US. Some of this equipment
was sent for free. I would go often to Electrónica Naval near the Parque Lezama
with documents on radar equipment that was either being given or sold dirt
cheap. At Electrónica Naval the crafty Argentines built TVs and had carpenter
sailors make very nice cabinets. These were sold to the public with fake Zenith or other brand names attached to them.
But there were two serious purchases that had me boarding a
Guppy Class submarine and climbing into the cockpit of a Douglas Skyhawk (the
latter were shot down in droves by the British in the Malvinas War).
I would inspect these war machines with American
non-commissioned officers who would explain what this or that was. One of my helpers was a US Marine flyer colonel who had the shakes because of the experience of having fought in the Korean War (called a Police Action in reality).
|Sail of the French nuclear submarine Casabianca; note the diving planes, camouflaged masts, periscope, electronic warfare masts, door and windows.|
It was the Guppy that presented me with a double problem that
was never solved so I had to convert the conning tower to torre “conning” and
sail became just that ‘sail’.
The difference between a sail and a conning tower is almost
subtle as both look the same from the outside. What happened is that a lot of
the sensitive equipment that was held in the vertical and protruding superstructure
when a submarine is surfaced was transferred below ships from the conning tower
which instantly became a sail.
ARA San Juan (S-42) is a TR-1700-class diesel-electric
submarine in active service with the Argentine Navy as part of the Argentine
Submarine Force. The submarine was constructed in West Germany and entered
service on 19 November 1985. San Juan underwent a mid-life update from 2008 to