Review From The Studio

On Mother's Day two years ago, my daughter and I shared something special; the privilege of hearing twenty brave and talented actors share with us the facts of their mothers' lives -  My Mother's Story: A Mother's Perspective . Together we laughed, we cried, and we thought of my mother, Amanda's grandmother, and the part she played in our lives. As we drove home we discussed the empowering effect that relating the arcs of their mothers' lives seemed to have on these women, and that we both felt enriched by the experience of seeing this work.

On Sunday we headed down to the Farmers' Market in search of a particular type of bread that is a household favorite. The market  turned out to be located in the parking lot just in front of the dance studio where I have been taking a couple of classes, mainly Latin dance- samba, rumba, jive, chachacha.

Even for a directionally challenged individual like me, driving in South Orange County is a pleasure. Each time I come here I appreciate the ease with which one can get around - by car.   Streets are clearly identified, the traffic lanes are wide (and so generally are parking spaces and parking is usually free) - and best of all, almost all major intersections have left turn signals. Sure one waits a little longer at a light but the traffic flows smoothly and you don't have idiots shooting through on the yellow and red and potentially causing a lethal accident. Compared to the speeding, tailgating, lane swerving Vancouver drivers who drive faster the harder it rains, people seem to drive more calmly here.

Today on a poster at my grand-daughter's preschool, I read that insects make up 75% of the world's species. Together with termite colonies, wasp nests and protective mimicry, the poster illustrated the process of metamorphosis. Aha I thought, I too must be part insect (evolution and all that) because I step on the plane in Vancouver as an energetic, literary, fit, ballroom dancing gourmet and oenophile, and emerge at John Wayne Airport as ... Granny - good for cuddles, stories and snacks.

I have come to my ballroom dancing addiction relatively late in life.  When I made a "mid-life" decision to change careers and redeploy myself from left brain physician/scientist to right brain entertainment /travel writer, one of my residual left brain activities was to make a list of the ten things I wanted to accomplish in the next ten years. Top of the  list was to get back to dance, especially the Latin dances, which I had loved in my late teens when my knees were still elastic and my hips could actually swivel. So having tried out a couple of dance styles and studios, I found myself at the Vancouver  Ballroom for a beginner bronze samba class - and after the first lesson I was hooked! Two years later, thanks to the endless patience of Bernice and Aegide, though neither my brain nor my body learns as easily  as a sixteen year old, I am working my way through the medal tests in Standard and Ballroom and rejuvenating myself in the process. Sort of like Benjamin Button.

Being away for nearly a month, I was concerned about keeping up my level of fitness and not putting on weight – what with no gym, no dance classes, and having to try all the new and exciting restaurants in Cape Town . I was also concerned about withdrawal symptoms from my growing dance addiction. So being a trained researcher and all that, I used the Internet back in Vancouver , to find a dance instructor in Cape Town who taught international dancing. I found someone that sounded promising and gave Brin his cell phone number.

Time: early afternoon on Mother's Day: Place: Granville Island Revue Theatre. I am here with my daughter to see "My Mother's Story", a piece derived from essays written by twenty Vancouver women actors in response to a challenge posed by Marilyn Norry, affectionately introduced by Patti Allen, as the "mother", of this project. From these twenty stories, Jenn Griffin skillfully wove a verbal collage to be read by the actors at this one-time Mother's Day performance.

They say that daughters become their mothers and I am starting to see that phenomenon in my own life: I fret about where I'm going to park hours before I leave the house for an event, I love music and dancing, and I have a strong belief that things work out for the best. However, while my mother dutifully came straight home and started working on her Rants, Raves and Reviews article, it took me three or four days to get to write. I like to think it's because my brain needs to stew for days before the writing comes out relatively smoothly.

VANCOUVER, B.C. - Lofty heights and creepy crawlies don’t bother me at all yet the mere thought of being enclosed in a small dark space sends me off in urgent need of a glass of Gewurztraminer, with creamy Cambozola, almonds and grapes. That’s comfort food for a Yaletown MUPPY.