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Noblemotion: Storm Front. Photo by Lynn Lane

Best of Festival, The Dance Gallery Festival.

On multiple media lists for performance invitations from around North America, it is rare that I find myself in a city on the same night for which I have an invitation. Despite my lifelong love of different forms of dance, both doing and watching, reviewing contemporary dance is way outside my comfort zone.

So when I realized that my one free night in New York this trip coincided with the Dance Gallery Festival's Best of Festival gala night at the Manhattan Movement and Arts Center, I decided that this opportunity to see contemporary dance performances from a variety of choreographers was not to be missed.

The cast of Miss Shakespeare. Photo by Bold Rezolution Studio

The premise of this show had me hooked from the beginning. It's early 17th century England and theatre abounds. Companies of players are performing comedies and tragedies with meaty roles for the players to tackle - but only if the players are men. Women are not allowed to perform and if they risk it and are caught on stage, they are subject to shaming by the church. This gender-based prohibition does not sit well with Miss Judith Shakespeare (Amanda Lisman) the feisty younger daughter of The Bard...

The cast of In The Heights at Arts Club. Photo by David Cooper

I was happy to get a chance to see this show as I missed it on each of my New York trips and I really enjoyed it a lot.

I liked the musical variety with Latin rhythms, salsa, merengue and rap, and the energy of the salsa and hip-hop dancing.

night falls on the Amazon

A To Z Challenge 2015This was my first time back to the A to ZChallenge since I completed it in 2012. I chose for my theme, to revisit my Amazon River Cruise  through the Peruvian Jungle in 2013 which I had partly documented on my return -  here is a post that showed the excursions during this journey - taking the opportunity to add more information  and details.

This was post A. Amazon Jungle Adventure- Why?

I learned a lot...

Jennifer Suratos, Christopher King and Ryan Lino. Photo by Nicol Spinola

I have always been bemused by the terms "fairy tales" or "children's stories" used to describe the collections of German folk lore compiled in the 19th century by the appropriately named Brother's Grimm, Jakob and Wilhelm. Although sanitized and glamorized into gentler, happier and pretty versions  as in the animated Disney films that even young children love to watch, the actual stories tell of violent acts and cruelty that don't always end with the protagonists living "happily ever after."

Just think of Cinderella, abused by her step-mother and sisters, without any help or intervention from her own father. There is...

Certifying my Amazon Adventure

For our final dinner on La Turmalina the crew outdid themselves. 

The entire crew from the Captain to the kitchen staff came out to be introduced and thanked by us all, and each of the guests was presented with a certificate showing that we had completed our week on the Amazon River.

the reluctant fisher girl

One of the frequently hinted at, and therefore anticipated highlights of this trip,  was the opportunity to go fishing for piranhas on the Yarapa river, one of the tributaries opening into the Amazon.

I have to confess  that fishing is not something I like to do. I don't mind standing around with a rod dangling in the water - it's kind of peaceful- but I really don't want to actually catch a fish. I hate watching the fish thrash around on the deck gasping for air. It's worse when they are bashed on the head - and as for pulling...

frog or toad 2

Xenopus is a genus of clawed aquatic frogs native to sub-Saharan Africa. There are about twenty known species in this genus. I first made the acquaintance of Xenopus Laevus, the best known celebrity of this family, in zoology, in my first year at medical school. At that time the primary laboratory investigations that we carried out were simple dissections.  It was in zoology class that I realized that I was far too squeamish to be a surgeon. 

If I couldn't even bear to cut up a frog how could I possibly slice up humans? I decided the kind of medicine...

Gala poster

The 2015 Eat! Vancouver Food and Cooking Festival at BC Place May 1st to  3rd, kicks off with the Canadian Flavours Gala at the Terminal Club on Thursday, April 30th.
The Gala event will feature 24 wineries and food offerings from ...

Giant water lillies of the Amazon

Near  the confluence of the Marañon and Ucayalli Rivers we traveled by motorized skiff to a  sheltered lagoon area to see giant water lilies. It was at times a rather hair-raising trip through thick water weeds that fouled up the motor of the skiff but the sight of the water lilies was worth it.

At least it was for the passengers who sat and watched while the guides had to repeatedly climb out of the boat and get into the water to slash away weeds so the boat could move though the undergrowth and access the lagoon....

Evan Frayne, Ron Reed. Photo by Damon Calderwood

Vancouver, BC: Who would have thought that a 65 minute play about an imagined conversation between Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis could be as spell-binding as I found this show to be? I was enthralled throughout.

And this just might be Ron Reed's finest performance yet, as the physically ailing Freud, whose mind and wit remains sharp as it ever was despite the excruciating pain of his oral cancer.

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