Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Today's Adventures

We went up to Champagne today.  A stop at the tea shop yielded no tea, although I did find a couple of hotpads which can be combined to place under the long casserole dish.

For supper we stopped at Merry Ann's Diner.  I got the gyros burger, which is becoming my favorite.

At Krannert, we had dessert.  Mom and Dad split a lemon cake.  Doug and I had red velvet, which was ... less objectionable than I've had before, but I could still taste the food coloring and that's never a good thing for me, so I gave up after a few bites.

We watched February Dance: Dancing 50: Moving Forward/Moving Back.  This is a student production, which is always a crapshoot.  This time it was very good, with mature skills.

"Patina" just about put me to sleep.  It was nice stuff, but very Zen with slow crawly movements and quiet music.  Full belly, dark room, mood music ... yeah.  Not their fault.  I actually liked the setup, where they were drawing circles on the floor with charcoal.  I have no idea how they managed to find three dancers  with that much artistic skill, because freehanding circles takes a ton of practice. 

After that, while they were setting up the next scene, several people did presentations.  There was acknowledgement of the First Nations, which I was thrilled to hear because that would've gotten someone canned 20 years ago.  It may have taken decades of work to haul the university's head out of its ass, but it is demonstrably less racist now than then.  \o/  They also spoke about the "dancestors" who helped create dances and dance movements, especially African-American ones.  A couple of them wore African clothes, too -- beautiful bold colors.

"Kueendom of the Shade" was my favorite dance, primarily about the Black Femme but playing with different gender ideas too.  It started with a giant African goddess figure that the dancers crawled out of.  The costumes were African.  The moves included a brilliant fusion of African folk steps, ghetto street dance, step dancing and body music, even a dab of ballet.  It really worked.

"Tether" was inspired by double-dutch jumprope.  They used some of the lines and skipping moves.  They also did some ribbon dancing, I think with elastic strips.  It was all pretty allegorical but it came together beautifully.

"I Wonder ..." was about black manhood and a nod to Stevie Wonder.  This one involved a lot of costume changes as they referenced many different scenes of black men's experience.  They did some African ones and several modern American ones.  And one running motif was "I can't breathe."  America deserves that.  Seeing it onstage, I suspect it will appear in many creative works for some-several years.  What interests me particularly is whether it will disappear in time, or get added to the repertoire of motifs such as slavery and Civil Rights that characterize black theatrical arts.  I think it has a good chance of crystalizing because it speaks so deeply of the black experience throughout history.

I was really pleased by the diversity this time, too.  They had a great balance of male and female dancers working together and separately, of various skin tones.  They also had exceptional body diversity.  Several dancers were chunky despite being athletic.  They actually used that in some of the booty dances, especially in "Tether" which featured a very challenging butt-waggling crouched step.  One of the men was downright muscular.  A couple of people had afros, and one man had dreadlocks he was swinging around to excellent effect.  People are just starting to capitalize on the artistic potential of nappy hair in African-American dance ... of course, if you look at African styles and entertainment, you can already see the whole range.

Afterwards, we went grocery shopping.  I made some great finds at Harvest Market.  They had the tenderized beef cutlet, fresh basil, and fresh ginger I want to riff on something from Core Life, so I'm making that tomorrow.  I also picked up a chocolate tomato, some multicolored baby carrots, sugar snap peas, and baby bella mushrooms to make a baked egg casserole later.  \o/

All in all, it's been a good day.
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