Saturday, 18 September 2010

its almost been a month!

i am in shock over the fact that i have almost been here a whole month! its strange because i know i have already done SOOO much and somethings feel so normal about my life here, but then i stop for a second and cannot believe any of this is real. that i am over here, that time is flying by already. wow. crazy thoughts!
week four rundown:
Tuesday was our cooking classes "Delicious Danish Dinners" night and i can honestly say i was shocked at how delicious the food really was. I liked everything we made and i could not chose a favorite dish!
we made classic danish meatballs (which i cannot remember the danish name for), mashed peas with almonds, and basil, potatoes and root vegetables with a sour cream/parsley sauce,  a cabbage salad and strawberry stew for dessert! Leftovers the next day were a treat :)

when i got home that night i walked into a song&dance party going on in our kitchen. :D basically it was hilarious and fantastic and i love my roommates

 after going to a raw foods bar with one of my classes ( mom, it was all healthy and delicious and when you come here i will take you to get an amazing cacao smoothie that tasted like a chocolate banana shake but with really fresh strong natural flavors)
Margaret Sarah and I had an adventure finding the mall. success ! (and Dana... i found you a wonderful present :D)  
that night our SRA came over and taught us how to make Danish pancakes, basically the exact same thing as Dutch pancakes for those of u who have had that delectable meal.

        On Thursday September 16th the Danish Royal Ballet  gave a performance on the main stage of the new Opera House in Copenhagen and my History of European Ballet class went as a field study. (I had to write an assignment giving a ‘journalist critique’ about the experience, I basically just copy and pasted my paper into the blog, changing a few thing here and there. But if you get the sense this writing is different than my usual updates…theres why :) 

The new Opera building was a beacon of light on the edge of the water. Once inside, the entrance hall was aglow with warm light, beautifully crafted spherical chandeliers and plenty of open space curving around the inner theater. The reflections from the outer walls of windows kept the chandeliers in view at all times and added to the surreal magic filled felling of the building.  Once inside the theater itself, the egg shaped hall, with four curving balconies of inlaid lit cherry wood, created an atmosphere of intimacy with the stage that made every seat in the house a good one.

            Peter Martins displayed his version of a ballet previously created by masters such as Marius Pepita, Lev Ivanov and George Balanchine; Svanesoen (Swan Lake). With the help of Pjotr Tjajkovskij’s music superbly performed by Vello Pahan and the Royal Danish Orchestra; Per Kirkeby’s intense yet subtle sets; colorful, intricate and beautiful costumes by Per Kirkeby and Kirsten Lund Nielsen; lighting by Jorn Melin and practically flawless staging by Petrusjka Broholm and her many assistants Martins’ rendition of this Classic Russian Romantic ballet was quite a success. The story of Prince Siegfried’s search for love and marriage and the enchanted Princess Odette’s quest for freedom from the Sorcerer Von Rothbart came to life through the movements performed by Ulrik Birrjaer (Siegfried), Amy Waston (Odette/ Odile) and Jean-Lucien Massot (Rothbart). The Orchestra’s music enhanced the dancers’ movements and built the emotions portrayed onstage so that they filled the rest of the theater.

            The sets and lighting were subdued enough that they did not pull attention from the dancers, but also had a big part in creating the atmosphere pouring from the stage. For the palace scenes in the beginning of both acts, the Prince’s castle is mostly decorated by the courtiers that occupy the stage. In the first act, the brightly colored costumes show the life in the young courtiers that make up the Princes friends, while the black and gold period costumes of the second act give the impression that the Queen (Princes Siegfried’s mother who is pushing him to get married) dressed the court for his birthday party to make a serious impression. In the second act, there is a scene when the courtiers are dancing upstage while drama is going on between the main characters downstage. The courtiers’ dance, with help of the costumes, almost became like part of the sets, not drawing our gaze form the main dancers. Yet, their movements added to the stressfulness and suspense to the situation unfolding before them. The colors and lights during the lake scenes blended with shadows to give the stage extra layers of depth. The setting cast a mist over the setting that gave a powerful contrast to the reality of the castle scenes. One of the best met challenges of the night was the perfection of staging. The intricate shapes and astonishingly smooth transitions through circles, lines, squares and more kept the audiences eyes in constant appreciative movement. The spotlights that followed the main dancers and created multiple silhouettes on the floor around them as they danced was an aesthetically pleasing part of the lighting that stood out for me.

            As for the dancing, the performance was superb. The first act started a bit muted but the passion slowly grew. Compared to  the court dances of the first act, the unique flavors of each ‘country dance’ performed as entertainment at the Prince’s birthday party in the second act kept the pace of the story moving more quickly. A turning point in the energy level was when Amy Watson first appeared as the black swan Odile. The power and coy confidence in her movement compared to the fluttering fragility of Odette in the first act brought a surge of energy to the rest of the performance. Her talent shined brightest during the challenging fouettes sequence of 32 turns by the black swan during the middle of the second act. By the time the climax hit and we were brought once more to the lake scene for the last half of the second act, Waston and Ulrik Birrjaer had the audience completely wrapped up in their conflict filled romance.
            Martins chose to end his version of the story with Odette leaving the Prince alone even after Von Rothbart had been defeated. While this fits with the classic style of the romantic period, it left me, as an audience member, wondering where that choice came from. The explanation I decided on was that, even though Odette could forgive the Prince for his betrayal, she was ultimately not willing to give up the swan part of herself for the human that betrayed her trust. This probes deep questions about the properties of trust, broken promises and forgiveness in love such as how much is too much to forgive?, differences in forgiving and forgetting, and how much of yourself are you willing to ‘give up’ for love? Obviously the art of ballet is not as simple minded as some may think. J
Overall, the night was a brilliant success and this I cannot wait for the next show!

OK back to regular me, not academic me :P

Friday night, was supposed to be the night we went to the Black Diamond Library for the one night a year they shut it down and turn it into a club for all the city's students but by the time we got there it was beyond full and they weren't letting anyone else in.  But we didn't let that get us down!
one of the funniest parts of the night was the bus ride to the library!

After a drink in a very hygge-ly (a Danish idea of cozy, comfy, fun and warmth) we found an Irish pub with live Irish music and made friends with some of the Danish, Irish, Swedish and Norwegian people for the rest of the night.
I wish i could have bottled a piece of last night to share with you and keep as a memory. Think a classic Irish pub-> dark, beer everywhere, lots of wood and stone, loud music and everyone singing and laughing the whole time. It was seriously everything i would hope an 'irish pub' to be like!
Tomorrow, I get to go to an FCK football (soccer) game against one of their biggest rival teams. apparently soccer is one of the only things that make Danes go really crazy, so it should be an experience :)

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