Wednesday 25 March 2009

Travelling, South Africa, Italy and a New Video

Wow. It's been a pretty wild month. Now that it's almost over, I can't quite believe it all happened.

In January I was extremely pleased to go teach at the BellyFusions Festival in Paris. Julie did an extraordinary job of running a busy ship in a tight fashion; her expertise in keeping everything on schedule, after demonstrating an excellent eye for a variety of talent, was really remarkable. Everyone was so enthusiastic, and the show was packed full of a diverse range of talented dancers. I was incredibly fortunate to stay with the lovely Gwenael while I was there, and my only complaint was that I never got as much sleep as I should have because we were keeping each other up all night talking. I got to wander around the city a bit, and take part in a surprise birthday celebration. I got to meet Anasma, and the girls from Shakra and Damage Control Dance Theatre, who were all really cool, and I got to hang out with Geneva, Tjarda and Renate again. It was pretty amazing.

Now, in March, I've gotten to teach and perform in South Africa and Italy. This was such a whirlwind! Cape Town was awesome--I tried to leave enough time to go look around, but South Africa is so full of ecological wonders that there really isn't any way to have enough time, I reckon. I got down there in a heat wave, which was a nice change of scenery from the fitful rain of London's winter/spring transition. The layout of the city and the flora kept making me think of the Bay Area in California, which made me really nostalgic. The workshops were full of enthusastic, dedicated dancers, who withstood the heat better than I did and were dancing the duet choreography with grace and poise as we finished the workshops. The SOMA ladies were absolutely lovely, and I really can't thank Marissa enough for all of her excellent organization--she put together a gorgeous show, and was a joy to get to know. Kathy and I had a couple of days to run around, and I got to see the penguins at Boulders Beach, swim in the Indian Ocean and then drive over to the Atlantic Ocean for an attempted baboon spotting. We had an impromptu dinner at the Ritz overlooking the city, a surprise party with Anna, Jon, Simone, and all of my new friends. Jon also outdid himself by doing a fantastic job of fixing--and improving!--my leather pocket belt after its unfortunate encounter with a London Underground gate.

Now, I'm just a couple of days back from a busy weekend in Southern Italy. Momo organized a day of sold-out workshops, and two performances in some really exciting events. On Friday, I got to perform to a packed club, where the audience was really joyful and stayed with me even through some music mishaps. Then, on Saturday, I got to perform at one of the warm-up gigs for the Italia Wave festival. This was fantastic (the video is below), with lots of awesome bands playing and full of really friendly, gorgeous people. However, it could have gone horribly wrong--Southern Italy is known for its lovely climate, but this weekend was a cold snap, and the gig in Pulsano was an outdoor affair. It was wet and rainy, and colder than London, and even snowed at one point! As you might imagine, the place is not really built for this kind of thing, so there was a lot of cold to go around. I demonstrated my assimilation into the British way of life by attempting to get a cup of tea to warm myself up before the performances, which resulted in a lot of funny faces and, at one point, a martini shaker full of warm tap water. My tip to the people of Puglia is this: when it is damp and miserable, do as the British do, and put the kettle on.

So now I'm back in London. April is also going to be really busy, though it's all happening on home turf; I'll post the events and upcoming classes in the next couple of days. I just want to say thank you to all of the people who have supported me in doing all of this; big thanks to James, for catching all of the odd tasks that fly his way, thanks to all of my students in London and elsewhere who are forever teaching me in all kinds of ways, and many, many thanks to the wonderful event organizers who help bring this fantastic world of performing arts to life.

Peace and Beauty,

PS: Here's the video from Pulsano--thank you, Ciro!

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