Monday, April 10, 2006

Thank God for Sunday

I guess that today was a gift from the powers that be. The sun was up and it was a day to remember.

I had breakfast at a place called Milk and Honey. Now that the weather is warming up I am willing to walk a little further away from home and try out different things. I had pancakes and chicken sausages for breakfast. It was a hearty meal. And I thought that I was just getting pancakes, but no, it had carrot, coconut and rasins in them. I know breakfast sounds heavy, but it was prety well done. I only ate half the pancakes though, just too much for me.

Then I headed for Millennium park by train. On the way I stopped by Barnes and Noble and bought a whole stack of inspirational cards. I am really into these cards. I realise that being successful is more than just ability, it is also a mind game. That is why so many sports people have visualisation and pep talks. So I am conditioning myself to be positive too.

Millennium park is way cool. It has several amazing sculptures and is surrounded by some of the amazing architecture of Chicago. The sculpture I love the most is called Cloud Gate by sculptor Anish Kapor. It is inspired by a drop of mercury but the relfections in it are way groovy. Then there is the Jay Pritzker Pavillion designed by Frank Ghery. It was quite funny, I have only seen pictures of the Guggenheim by Ghery in Bilbao, but the metallic waves were unmistakeble and I knew that this Pavillion was designed by Ghery too. It is cool to walk around it and just watch the way the whole sculpture interacts with itself and the surrounding skyline.

I then went to watch Hubbard Street Dance at the Harris Theatre for Music and Dance. It was just at the top of Millennium park.

I had forgotten how much I loved dance. What I watched was a mixed bill of four dances. As I watched the first dance The Manifests choreographed by Lauri Stallings, I almost cried. The physicality of grace of the dancers reminded me the first time I watched Strong Language by Richard Alston, danced by the Rambert Dance. This was the type of dance that got me involved in the arts. Today, watching Hubbard Street Dance, my breadth was stolen, just like the times I watched such beautiful dance in London. And it was so funny, one of the pieces of music was from Wong Kar Wai's In the Mood for Love. Strange how the arts influence one another.

The next three dance pieces was by 3 of my favourite choreographers, Nacho Duato, William Forsythe and Jiri Kylian. The Nacho Duato piece was Cor Perdut and was set to music by Maria del Mar Bonet. A beautiful piece of Tunisian music and a fantastic duet.

Then there was vintage William Forsythe with Enemy in the Figure. One immediately recognises the syncopated movements of Forsythe's choreography and it is enthralling. But in this piece Forsythe also gives a class in dramatic lighting. For the most part the dance was lit by a huge floodlight on wheels that the dancers moved around the stage. In the middle of the stage was a wavelike wooden sculpture. This floodlight on wheels would create extreme brightness and dark shadows, sometimes flattening out the dancers in a harsh frontal lighting, at times just creating slithers of highlights with side lighting and then always casting amazing shadows. Forsythe's work is not pleasing, but it is undeniably engaging.

The last piece was a hilarious dance by Jiri Kylian to music by Mozart called Sechs Tanze. In some ways it is easier to do darma. It takes a real master to do humor.

I was sitting next to a silver-haired Chicago lady who had been following Hubbard Street dance since they began. She was really having fun with the dance pieces and laughed to herself quite a lot.

I am reminded of why I am here as a photographer. I am inspired to strive harder.

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