“A nice weekend is one that allows you to catch up on your sleep a little bit.”
I was ready to adopt this new motto, having had two prior travel weekends in a row – I never stay in bed late when I am traveling, never mind the fact that I usually feel less than comfortable in hotel beds, – so some extra shut-eye was overdue.
Given the times of my awakenings on Saturday and Sunday – let’s put it cryptically at closer to noon than to my weekday 6:50 alarm-clock moment – the weekend was quite nice. But it also encompassed an interesting bit of entertainment and a boisterous get-together with friends.
On Saturday, after welcoming back our newly independent daughter from here solo trip to the mall, we all went to the performance of the Shen Yun Chinese Spectacular.
It was Becky who asked whether we could go in the first place. Her Mandarin studies apparently are quite enjoyable, and when her teacher distributed some flyers in class, she brought one home with a suggestion, which we were open to. And ended up quite impressed.
The troupe, called Divine Performing Arts, is actually New York-based, and is currently touring the world ahead of the Olympic Games. The performance consists of over a dozen colorful dances, some of them traditional ethnic folk routines and some originally choreographed storytelling. Not unlike ballet, at all, although the emcees actually spent some time ruminating on how the Chinese classical dance differed from the ballet discipline. All in all, the dances were fantastically expressive, the costumes stunningly gorgeous, the choreography masterful, and the overall impression simply fascinating. Most of the dances involved some sort of props – fans, twirling rugs, drums – combining graceful movements with some circus-like skills.
There were a few numbers of operatic singing, as well, which we accepted as necessary to allow the dancers to change, but weren’t much impressed by.
A couple of dances had clear modern political context, with government goons – identified by black jackets with red sickle-and-hammer emblem stitched onto them – first harassing, but eventually yielding to heroic everyday people with seemingly stoic demeanor and powerful convictions. State-sanctioned performance this isn’t.
You certainly have to like dancing arts and be interested in Oriental cultures to fully enjoy this show, but if you qualify on both counts, we definitely recommend it for you.
Having thus satisfied our yearnings for fine arts, we went for simpler pleasures on Sunday in the form of an impromptu birthday celebration for our friend Pasha. Just what I like best: Small close-knit company, good wine, nice food, kids finding various forms of entertainment for themselves, and, most importantly, a guitar and plenty of singing. Two guitars, even, as we brought ours in addition to the one owned by the hosts. We took turns: Pasha played expertly, Natasha played masterly, I played… badly, as usual. We all sang: I have no intention of comparing my vocal skills with those of my illustrious spouse, but I can hold my own with singing… Five hours went by in a flash… Great party! I need me more of these!