|Left - Béatrice Larrivée circa 2016 - Right 20 August 2022|
Sometime in 2016 I was backstage at the Vancouver Playhouse taking photographs backstage (privileged ones as former editor of Vancouver Magazine would say) at a performance of the Arts Umbrella Dance Company.
There was this young woman sitting on the floor crying and nursing a sprained ankle. Her name was Béatrice Larrivée. I had been following her dancing career as besides being a superb dancer she had that difficult to define but easy to notice presence.
Amazingly Larrivée got up and danced.
When my wife Rosemary, our two daughters and I arrived in Vancouver from Mexico City in 1975, I was soon struck by the coldness of its inhabitants. I would say that they were as cold as their tap water.
But I soon was out looking for what for me defines the best of humanity. This is passion. It was at the Smilin’ Buddha in 1979 that I discovered Art Bergmann and his passion for playing his electric guitar. I have been a fan of his since and I would like to point out here that he never let his passion rest. He is at it right now.
It was with a great pleasure that I found out that Larrivée was coming town for two reasons. One was to impart her dance knowledge at the summer program of the Arts Umbrella Dance Company and the other to perform an hour-long solo work NObody at the Dance Centre. I was there with my granddaughter Lauren, (20) who danced for many years at Arts Umbrella.
Few would have suspected back in 2016 that the most innovative modern dance would not be in The Netherlands but in Israel. Something called Gaga has emerged from there.
Developed by Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin, Gaga is a movement language intended to help practitioners raise physical awareness by focusing on (or in Gaga terms, “listening” to) the rhythm of their bodies, letting them direct their movement and the pleasure that movement brings.
Larrivée’s performance was going to give us (at least to me) a look at what this dance movement is all about.
Until a few years ago when my granddaughter Lauren stopped dancing at Arts Umbrella I was given carte blanche by the head of the Arts Umbrella Dance Company to take photographs whenever I wanted. And that is how I got access to back stage.
It was thanks to the Arts Umbrella Dance Company that this crusty old man learned to take dance photographs in my own personal style which I called dance swirls. I use a digital camera, a Fuji X-E1 and X-E3 and my method is to set the camera on automatic with my being able to choose slow shutter speeds.
I missed doing this and I wrote several blogs placing those photographs in them.
Now that I am about to become 80, I tell people that as a magazine photographer I am obsolete, redundant, retired & inconsequential. But I believe that thanks to Larrivée I may be an old gunfighter who survived his last shoot, Saturday’s!