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Dance and hugs

Dancing happened Saturday. This, of course, is good.

One of my extended family's members, Eloisa (daughter of my cousin Steph and her husband Paul), is in Classical Ballet Academy in Southeast Portland. She's done dance just in general for almost all her life, and my parents have gone to a lot of her recitals over the years. I hadn't. But Saturday provided a good chance to finally do so, and I took it: the Academy got to close off a wide-medianed road in the Eastmoreland neighborhood, south of Reed College, place several stages on the median, and have students at several ages perform excerpts from a bunch of classical ballets. And happily, the rain that had been forecast for Saturday held off so they could dance without risking wet stages.

Mom first came into town, picked me up and took me to lunch: the drive-thru at the 50th and Powell SuperDeluxe, a good burgers-and-chicken place. We parked a few blocks from the dance event and ate (burgers plus a small serving of SuperDeluxe's chicken nuggets) in her car. We talked. (You don't get that part. I don't tell you everything.) Then, with caps — ballcap for me, a visor for Mom — and masks, we walked over.

Big event. Lots of people, feeling good about the day, the weather and the ability the dancers were showing. I was glad to see the Academy members have a reasonable variety of body types, more than the willowy stereotype of ballet dancers. For Eloisa's group, performing Don Quixote (music by — *checks Google* — Jules Massenet), one of the male dancers was surprisingly tall, befitting the character of Quixote, of course; Mom wondered if/how much the dancer had to modify his steps to conform to the fairly small stage. All the dancers knew what they were doing, to an extent I'm not going to see with my untrained eye.

Some of the ballets chosen were more comic, like Coppélia (music by Léo Delibes) and Alice in Wonderland, both of which I saw in part. The "ballet everyone knows about by cultural osmosis" choices included Swan Lake, which I also saw; another group was doing Stravinsky's The Firebird. Later, after Mom and I had left, the dancers danced more contemporary pieces.

And happily, I saw more family than expected. Steph's father and his partner had driven up from Nevada to be in Oregon for a few weeks; and Steph's sister had flown in from Eastern Washington for a quick weekend. More people to hug...

After Mom had gotten me home then headed for her home, the rain that had been holding off finally reached Portland. I'm glad; we need the rain.


Whale fluke
Chris Walsh

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February 2024


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