Monthly Archives: February 2015

UP A LAZY RIVER

Good news – the traditional rec centre pool is now borrowing fun ideas from water parks and re-sparking all kinds of interest. How, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. They’re installing “lazy rivers” or “current channels” for added fun and  self-driven water therapy. My pool now has a current channel, separate from the main pool, and this feature alone has motivated me to visit three times a week, both to swim laps in the regular pool and to goof around afterward in the bath-warm “river”. What a godsend!

My favoured “river” snakes around in a loosely-shaped figure eight, with overhead water sprays of varying intensity, just like the ones at the water parks. You can float on a pool noodle or exercise your lower back muscles with long strides against the current, which threatens to knock you over at every turn. What fun (not….I prefer to walk with the current). Or you can massage that aching shoulder under a punishing torrent of water. Heaven!

You might think a ‘lazy river’ is just for arthritic old fogies. This may be true in the early mornings, when we oldsters flop around in the waist-high water like aging sea lions, chatting up other fogies and comparing arthritic ailments. Who else would be at a swimming pool at 6 am?

But the lazy river isn’t just for seniors. On Saturday afternoons at our pool, there are more kids in the current channel than in the main pool. This is at least partly due to the giant overhead bucket, which slowly fills with water and then hits critical mass, tipping suddenly and dumping two tons of water on the throngs below. The kids squeal, but they love it. They circle the channel and come back for more.

I was always a reluctant swimmer, given the changing/showering/cold air aspects of it all. With the advent of the lazy river, though, I’m a convert, putting up with all the dressing and undressing for a shot at that snuggly-warm current that is the lazy river.

Does this ballet make me look fat?

Is it just me, or is ballet getting boring?  ( I hear my husband snort, “getting???” )
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I’ve always loved ballet, but last night’s performance of the Miami City Ballet in Vancouver left me strangely cold and totally out-of-step with cries of “bravo” bouncing around our city’s now-aging Queen E. Theatre. Such effusive reactions gave me pause. Bored by the ballet, I must be old and “past it”.  But no…..I have thrilled as recently as last October to paintings by the masters in L.A. and still enjoy So You Think You Can Dance. So it can’t be that.
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Why then was I bored? The dancers seemed too young, for one thing. Average age arguably 23, hardly old enough to vote, let alone to transfer any kind of life experience onto the stage. I found it distressing to wonder if they’d been chosen for their looks. They had uniform age, uniform height and weight, uniform pony tails (in the women) and uniform metro-sexuality and hair colour in the males. More importantly, some of  the unison work seemed raggedy, one or two dancers struggling to keep up and others too often telegraphing their next moves. There were few smiles and little emotion….faces often seemed frozen in concentration.
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But my God, they were beautiful!  In fact, seldom have I felt so old and so fat as I did during this parade of ingenues and callow youths. These dancers seemed hollow….vacant, even. It was difficult to tell one from another. Sadly, they resembled Eloi, the vacuous post-human race in H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine (see also the 1960 movie version). They came and went with blank faces. To quote Gertrude Stein, “there was no there, there”.
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Maybe I was in a mood.
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Or maybe last night’s enthusiastic audience was also young, beguiled by the evening’s theme….a homage to the choreography of George Balanchine, famed director of the New York City Ballet and a proponent of the neo-classical style. This company prides itself on keeping Balanchine at the fore, a laudable aim, no doubt. But I think I’m just tired of classicism, neo or otherwise. I no longer want tutus and delicate feminine flutterings, unless it’s the Bolshoi (they can do anything they like).
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Give me intensity and passion, not delicate tracings.
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The Miami company is 50-strong, with 8 new members this season and 4 new graduates from the Miami City Ballet School. Could this have contributed to the greenness I sensed? I wish them well, but I fear I won’t be making a return visit anytime soon.