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  1. Winter Olympics

    I'm afraid the Winter Olympics leave me cold. see what I did there? 😆
  2. It might be fanciful, but I think there was also 'fertile ground' in Japan for ballet as it has parallels with some cultural traits - attention to minute detail, acceptance of discipline over a long period of training / development time, an appetite for abstraction and symbolism. These are all reflected both in Japanese dance forms and in martial arts. As a karate practitioner, when I first became interested in ballet, I was struck by these parallels, and even by how class structure is similar. Having said that, my cultural preconceptions about Cubans are probably entirely different, so bang goes that theory!
  3. Curious to get your perspectives. Ballet is of course well established where you might expect it to be, in the European and Russian / Eastern Europe historical heartlands, but also seems hugely popular in some other countries where perhaps it resonates with certain cultural traits - e.g. Japan, Cuba. In others it is absent - in some cases for religious reasons (struggles in most Muslim countries) but in others less explicably. I've just returned from one of our occasional months in Thailand, where there is a very strong indigenous classical dance tradition, and a widespread cultural appreciation of beauty and ritual - so fertile ground but a really minimal ballet presence. So why for example Japan but not Thailand? Why Cuba and not Jamaica? Is it some 'cultural alignment' or simply a reflection of historical efforts and contacts?
  4. Winter Olympics

    Have to say it's only the figure skating that I find watchable in the WO. Curling, for goodness sake... I'd prefer a version where they simply keep the main Olympic sports and the associated clothing but just do them on ice - imagine weightlifting on ice, the 100m sprint, dressage (OK, use seals if necessary), icekwondo...
  5. we're going to that - I like to support Dance East as it's a nice venue and rather a lonely oasis of culture in Ipswich, but we sometimes struggle to find things we want to see...
  6. Anyone else here a tennis fan?

    I case it's of interest, tickets are now on sale for the pre-Wimbledon tournaments in Birmingham and Nottingham. We just booked the qualifier weekend plus first day of Birmingham - Edgbaston for a mere £25 each - good seats in the centre court. Last year it was a really nice, well run event - recommended.
  7. Room 101

    Thanks Jan - one half of me looks like the skinless man in Hellraiser and my ankle is badly sprained, but it could have been much worse. To my wife's credit, as soon as she saw that I was still breathing she got off the phone to the life insurers and came to help...
  8. Room 101

    Let me put "holiday brain" into Room 101. A condition where the euphoria induced by being somewhere totally relaxed and beautiful leads to abandoning any rational risk evaluation, and hence to a middle aged ballet lover on a month's holiday in Thailand abruptly parting company from his rental scooter and sliding down the filthy concrete road on his bare skin....
  9. Censoring Victorian art

    Cringe, how very 'corporate offsite'...
  10. Strange Signs

    Oh they just keep coming. In Tham Lod cave grounds - which I highly recommend if you're ever near Mae Hong Son.
  11. Strange Signs

    I'm currently in Chiang Rai and just walked past this. I'm still a schoolboy at heart
  12. That’s ‘Our Kind of Traitor’; Bella Brouwers was one of the dancers - I remember it taking me by surprise!
  13. I also saw it and was equally impressed with Tamara. The first time I saw Song of the Earth I was distinctly underwhelmed, but enjoyed it more this time - part of that might be familiarity, but I think Tamara did bring something to it that engaged me more. La Sylphide was new to me and great fun - Jurgita was a beautifully whimsical and ethereal Sylph, and Jane Haworth excellent as Madge. I'm disappointed that I'll miss Jeune Homme, which sounds fascinating, as I find myself obliged to take a month's holiday in Thailand from this weekend
  14. I was watching the film 'Passion' the other day and was very pleasantly surprised to find a lengthy sequence where they split the screen between events in the film on the right, and a performance of Afternoon of a Fawn on the left. I lost track of the what was going on in the film itself as I was engrossed in watching the stunning Polina Semionova. The ballet sequence is on Youtube - I'd advise against watching the whole film as it's otherwise rubbish!
  15. Wayne Sleep is in the Celebrity Big Brother House

    Yes I did, I took it at Morston, on the Norfolk coast - there's a big seal colony on the sandbars offshore, which there are boat trips to visit. Well worth a visit if you're ever in that area.