Friday, March 20, 2009

Art and Dance

When Maya and I were together in Quito this January looking for schools and neighbourhoods, we met a dance professor from Colorado, who was guest starring in a performance at the Casa Cultural. I was looking for a good dance school for Maya, without success, so I decided to check out the recital to see what style of contemporary dance was current in Quito. I dragged Erika (who never goes out in the evening and prefers to stay home) to the recital.

I think Erika was shocked. The show was avant garde and often distressing. I was squirming in my seat throughout the performance. Maya was less affected, but I think we were all confused by the raw emotion and the ugliness of the movements and the lack of art in it. I did not understand if it was Ecuadorian or American or both. The choreographers were from both countries.

After the show, Maya and I were introduced to the dancers and their friends, and we asked questions about where to find a good ballet teacher for Maya. In Baltimore, Maya dances about eight hours a week, mostly ballet, but she also has a contemporary dance class, which she enjoys. After the distubing performance, I was eager to leave as soon as possible and did not want to know where to look for a dance teacher. I was unsettled for hours afterward.

Tonight, Maya performed with the Full Circle Dance company at the Baltimore Musem of Art. She belonged to a dance club at her school last year and her group choreographed and performed a dance they called 'Nightmare'. They have been asked to perform it serveral times since their debut, and they were part of the performance tonight, which was wonderful. It was modern dance, but was accessible, I could relate to the stories and the dancing and I loved it. Maya's dance fit in with the theme of dreams and nightmares. I was impressed.

Maya's ballet teachers are all worried about what Maya will do when in Ecuador and whether she will fall behind in her skills. They tell me to find a private Russian teacher who will be tough on her. One teacher asks me to leave Maya with him so he can keep her on track. I have decided that if dance happens for Maya in Ecuador, great, but if not, she can pick up where she left off when we return to Baltimore. Who knows, she may get into very modern work or be exposed to traditional dancing, or better yet, she will salsa and tango and learn how to move her hips in that wonderful Latin way, which I cannot do, and have always wished that I could.

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