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Crystal Pite, “”The Art of Downsizing” on CBC

What to do about my end of March trip to Europe? Unlike EasyJet, which today sent a cheery note reminding me of my flight from Paris to Venice on March 28 – Venice which is completely shut down – Air Canada is offering refunds or exchanges for travel in March. My travel companion Bruce has cancelled his entire trip; he’ll be home in Vancouver to see his balcony tulips come up for the first time in many years. Lynn writes from France that lots of things have closed down and large gatherings are forbidden, tho’ so far there are not many cases of the virus. But, she says, if you have to be two weeks in quarantine after returning, as people do from Italy, perhaps it’s not worth it.

So – wait and see.

In the meantime, the feast of Toronto continues. This afternoon I rode my bike in the cold sun to see the National Ballet production of the latest piece by Crystal Pite, an immensely talented choreographer from Vancouver. Her magnificent Betroffenheit was one of the most powerful pieces of dance I’ve ever seen; her career skyrocketed after that, and when I was last in London, she had a piece at the Royal Ballet that to my disappointment was sold out, no tickets available. This new piece is not even half an hour long, so the National programmed two other pieces first, the stellar Chroma, and the ridiculously old-fashioned melodrama Marguerite and Armand, which is like a prissy parody of classical ballet. I treated myself to an intermission glass of Prosecco after that.

But Pite’s piece, from the very first moment, is stunning and profound – gorgeous choral music, lights, costumes, and the power of the emotion she produces with bodies, more than 30 lithe young bodies, including Siphesihle November from South Africa whose life in documentary I watched only a few weeks ago. Glorious, moving – she is reflecting on human impermanence and mortality; of course, there were tears. Here’s a tiny preview.

Home on the bike for a glass of wine and a jar of soup delivered to my door by my friend Cyril. My cup runneth etc. Particularly after yesterday, when I went with Anna to an exhibition at the Jesuit Forum organized by Anne-Marie – a photographic history, with large panels, of racism and annihilation in Palestine and among the Indigenous people of Canada. This time, it was Anna who cried. A devastating exhibition.

And now the CBC news is saying that Indigenous and northern communities are so poor, they have no resources to deal with a virus. “These kinds of things disproportionately affect people who live in poverty.”


PS. For another kind of treat, I just watched this lovely doc, “The art of downsizing” on CBC Gem. Hope you can see it. It also made me cry – it’s really beautifully done. Though it did make me look around here in horror. Downsizing a four-story house, after 34 years? Yikes.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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