Monday, June 22, 2015

Mountain View Solstice Dancers: Performance Day

Yesterday, the first day of summer, was one of those gorgeous sunny Vancouver days when the city shows itself off in truly spectacular style. And then promptly serves up way too many competing activities to enjoy it by: the Dragon Boat Festival at South False Creek; Car Free Day on Main Street and Commercial Drive; the Jazz Fest; National Aboriginal Day festivities at Trout Lake; the much-mocked group yoga thingy that was moved from the Burrard Street Bridge to the Plaza of Nations; FIFA Women's World Cup action; and a little thing called Father's Day. And then, of course, there was the most important event of all: our Summer Solstice Dance and Music Celebration at Mountain View Cemetery.

I decided to walk up Main Street to 37th in advance of our 4 pm call time. Big mistake. The throngs of people out enjoying the sun and free activities slowed me down. Plus I got distracted by the discounted clothing items at Motherland and Eugene Choo, and by friends I happened upon. By the time I got to Celebration Hall I was already sweating profusely. After a brief warm-up led by Hailey, Jessica definitively set which way we all moved during the in-out crouch step at the end of "New Friends," as we were finally all together. This involved a change of direction for me, which threw me off in the final run-through that followed. Fortunately I remembered to go the right way (which was actually the left way) during the actual performances.

As for those performances, I think they went very well. We had good crowds for each show; Mark and all the musicians were in fine form (and the sound was great); Diane's installation (a beautiful hall of mirrors referencing both Part's "Spiegel im Spiegel" and Jean Cocteau's Orphee) was a hit; Sarah managed to cajole and shame nearly everyone who came out to dance during the end of "Open Up Your Heart"; and the setting did not let us down, even cuing up a gorgeous sunset for the end of our 9 pm set. And then there was the dancing: mistakes were made, to be sure, and our timing was off in places. But we had fun, the audiences responded enthusiastically, and as with LGC we succeeded in animating an under-used public space in Vancouver through a coordinated artistic intervention.

On the latter front, it was great to see so many LGC alumni out to support us. I look forward to seeing them again in three weeks, when the documentary about the making of the Vancouver version of Le Grand Continental screens on the Queen E Plaza on July 14. In the meantime, later today I begin rehearsals for my next community dance project: Wreck Beach Butoh, which happens July 4 and 5. Onward in movement!


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