Tag Archives: dance

Writing about dance : Pina

It was a long time back that I watched Wim Wenders’ film PIna on the late German choreographer Pina Bausch (1940-2009) who created new vocabulary of dance through her creations at Wuppertal TanzTheater.  Inspite of it being so long back, and I have seen several performances before that and ever since, the images of Pina’s choreographic creations refuse to fade away from my memory and mind. The human stories that she evokes and that are performed so beautifully by her dancers, leave lasting impressions on one’s mind, making one slowly realize that any movement, even one performed with apparent ease, can possess a quality of enormity and terrific meaning.

Pina Bausch, dancer and choreographer

Pina Bausch, dancer and choreographer

Here is an excerpt of one of Pina’s creations Le Sacre du Printemps which was first performed in 1975, to t Igor Stravinsky’s orchestral composition.
Before you watch it though, it would be great if you read this small review written in 1997 by Nadine Meisner (for The Times, London), that so beautifully ekes out the physicality of the performance, almost bringing the dancers to life through her words. Writing about dance is indeed an art.

The women stand hunched and shuddery, near naked in flimsy beige shifts which they draw up with childish, ungainly immodesty. They are gripped by terror because they know one of them will be the sacrificial victim to mark the end of winter – the Chosen One who dances to the death. The red dress she will wear is passed among them, a rag both fearful and fascinating. They huddle together for comfort, then disintegrate into panic-stricken scurries as destiny stirs under the surface. And when a woman is chosen (Aurelie Dupont) by the male leader, the music briefly unleashes the colossal power of its drums, like the cracking of the Russian ice in spring. It signals the release of pent-up sexual longing, the men and women flying like shards into each other’s arms.

What makes Bausch’s Rite so extraordinary is the balance between visceral realism and intervals of vivid, orchestrated geometry: the phalanxes of unison dance, the circle of dancers revolving with stately vastness to the music slow’s section, like the cycle of the seasons, like life. And then there are Bausch’s emotional images: the crowd waiting before the victim like spectators at a bullfight; the girl’s frozen terror as she is forced to walk by the man, who pushes her, half holding her up, her feet resisting hopelessly against the loose soil.

Nadine Meisner
The Times (London)
18 June 1997

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Discovering the Mooncup!

Despite being an extremely scatologocally obsessed person, I try to keep my blog outside that zone and never crack any potty jokes or talk about how good/bad my excretory functions have been each morning.
But after so long, there has been an amazing breakthrough in life and its only fair to humanity to share it here.
Before I start, here is a DISCLAIMER: If you are disgusted by talk about menstruation and blood, stop reading now. If you are a woman looking for a happy period or a human who wants to gift a woman a happy period, read on!

Before I go on about what I have just discovered, I am going to birefly go over my prior experience with periods.

BEFORE
Inspite of having dealt with menstruation or periods for 10 years, I don’t remember a single time when I have not cursed the ordeals a woman has to go through because of this monthly occurence. My periods have spoilt many situations, such as school picnics, swimming competitions, days out on the beach, train journeys, trekking expeditions, comfortable nights of sleep, nights with boys I might fancy and have even spoilt nice skirts because of leaks and stains. (Need I complain about the extra laundry that a leak makes us do?)
Unlike most other women, I have had to suffer from only occassional cramps in my back and have not had to go through whole days of debilitating pain that reconciles me to the bed as I know many friends have to. Ofcourse I have also had bouts of PMS (yes, this is a real thing) where I am sulky and make it a point to let everyone know.

Pre-Menstrual Syndrome

Pre-Menstrual Syndrome

I had been using Sanitary napkins to handle the menstrual flow and thought it was great that I had managed to find a brand that made wide, thin and absorbent napkins that guarantee 90% chances of no leak. and yet , I have some friends who have acute menstrual conditions and have to change 11 of those very same pads in a single day.

This whole ordeal of a monthly occurrence (I must say it is an ordeal even if its not monthly because then one might fret about pregnancy) causes great physical and mental anxiety and pain, and also causes a whole in our pockets. I would spend about Rs120 every month on sanitary napkins and I know that for many women, it is much more.

NOW

But now! with the advent of January 2014, during my first period of the year, I looked something like this.

Happy free woman typically shown in advertisements for sanitary napkins. She is lying, just like the santary napkins!T

The main reason behind this was…
Drumroll….da dum da dum!!

….The main reason behind this was that I used a MOONCUP!!

What is a Mooncup?
A Mooncup is a silicone menstrual cup that is a safer, convinient and eco-friendly alternative to tampons and sanitary napkins. As mooncup.co.uk claims rightfully, the Mooncup menstrual cup offers an end to the waste, discomfort and expense of disposable sanitary protection.

What does it look like?

the Mooncup, also known as femmecup

the Mooncup, also known as femmecup

WHY Mooncup?

As the product already claims and has been testified to be true by many many women around the world, the mooncup is caring for the woman’s vagina. Tampons often cause dryness and sanitary napkins can cause rashes. But the Mooncup is safer as it is made from soft medical grade silicone, is latex-free, contains no dyes, bleaches or toxins.
It is an Environment-friendly option. It is reusable.One mooncup can be used for every day of the period, for every period, for even upto 10 years. It is extremely easy to clean and sterilise , and hence will not cause any infection. While sanitary napkins and tampons fill up landfills all over the world, the mooncup is sensitive to Mother Nature.
Since it is reusable, it is obviously a cheaper option. I paid Rs1800 for the mooncup (I din’t have to pay for shipping as I asked someone to bring it for me from London), and this means that in a little more than a year I will make up the cost.

HOW it is used?
This video can explain better.

It might sound disgusting to you, but trust me , it is actually beautiful.
Why I LOVE the Mooncup?
I have never ever before been so happy about my period. I AM ACTUALLY HAPPY DURING MY PERIOD.
I must give a little bit too much information here, but it is necessary. I have actually gotten to know my body better and appreciate it more now. I am in awe of nature for having creating such beautifully complicated biological systems. I have even gotten to understand my period better, knowing better than ever before, the exact state of my flow as the period progresses. I din’t remember at any point during my period, that I actually had ’em because I felt none of the usual discomfort.
Physical activity, Exercise and dancing wearing a mooncup: Absolutely safe. Absolutely comfortable. I could even dance freely and do multiple somersaults during dance class while wearing a mooncup during my period.
[Addition on Oct 25th , 2014: So this year I also went open water diving in the Andaman and Nicobar islands and got my period on the last day. I did not use the mooncup because scientifically we figured that if there is an air pocket that cannot be equalized (My friend rightly pointed out that this would requiure me to equalize my vagina, hahaha), it was safe to not use the mooncup without consultation or advice about whether it is safe to use while diving where pressure imbalance can be created at even a few meters underwater. So I just used a tampon for the first time in my life. If you know about how diving and mooncups go together, please let me know!]
Cramps: Though I don’t have much experience with this problem, my friend who got the mooncup for me from the UK and has been using the mooncup for 7 years now, says that even her cramps and body pain reduced ever since she started using the mooncup. However, I can’t really figure out any scientific reason this should happen and it may just be a coincidence.
I am a cheap-master. So I am a big time kanjoos (Terminology: Miser). Towards the end of the period, say the 5th day, when I think that it is probably over and wouldn’t want t waste a sanitary pad (Rs12 ish) on it and just go to class/work like its a normal day. Then I get like a 3 ml flow and its annoying. Now there is laundry to be done and I wear fresh knickers and decide to use a pad. Thats when there is no flow! Great, Waste of money. Hmmph!
But a Mooncup can be used till the end of the period, for all days! This makes it even more economical and a sensible option for women who have longer menstrual cycles.

The Difficulty and Challenge of using the Mooncup
This was only initially when I was nervous about putting such a large thing up my vajajay. I postponed using it for four months after buying it. Once I finally tired, I failed and chickened out. The next month, I actually got through and had to immediately ride my scooter. I felt it prick under me and realized I had gotten it wrong as you are not even supposed to feel it there! The next attempt I got it right but din’t know how to get it out! Then I remembered that you just have to “breathe,relax and push down.”  One day I even missed my dance class as I was afraid that if I did somersaults, the menstrual blood woudl flow back to my falopian tubes or something. None of that happened and I was absolutely comfortable during the next period when I went for super active dance and yoga classes.
It has certainly been a challenging and learning experience. But boy am I glad about this one!

For all the above reasons and many more I may soon discover, I am sure that I will never ever go back to any other form of sanitary protection for menstruation after using the Mooncup.

If you want testimonials from more women , this is one of the many I like.

Finally, a pretty neat rap battle between the tampon and the mooncup!

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March 11, 2014 · 12:38 am

Duma dum mast kalander!

Since I am sitting so vella in Kuwait during the holidays and don’t have much to do, apart from the occasional internship work, fun reading and watching movies, I have been venturing into the kitchen once in a while.

A few days back I made the Hyderabadi Dum Biryani. My non-vegetarian friends always make fun of me saying that biryani can NEVER be vegetarian and that anything that is called biryani or is supposed to be eaten has to have some meat in it. But that’s just what we made- Vegetable Hyderabadi Dum Biryani. Boy was it delicious!

I followed the recipe from this website here where Dassana gives out recipes for lip-smacking food and always has beautiful pictures of food that makes you really feel like cooking these dishes. Check out the recipe here – http://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/hyderabad-veg-biryani-hyderabadi-vegetable-dum-biryani-recipe/

Here is a picture of my attempt that almost failed because I ignored the gas with all the commotion online about the Higgs Boson particle being found! woohoo for that!

Image

My attempt at Veg Hyderabadi Dum Biryani

Doesn’t it look delicious?! Oh it was! So after all that absolute lack of modesty in my culinary skills, I will leave you to trying it out yourself.

Have a nice Sunday. I hope you are not being subject to watch Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham on TV right now. I can hear just the sound from the other room and I just cannot believe that Indian audiences could ever be corny enough to like that movie and I could be corny enough to have danced excitedly in front of the TV copying this,  even if I was 11 years old. 😐

Kthnxbye!

 

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July 8, 2012 · 6:49 pm

Chicago

After having had a pretty sad day, I switched on the television hoping for something to cheer me up.

And there it was! Chicago to the rescue! 🙂

Though I attribute the cheering up to the lovely Chocolate Dutch Truffle I had , the movie  was very much an entertainer! A remake of the 1975 Broadway show, Chicago has a constant flow of drama, music and dance.There is never a loose moment in the movie which can be credited to everything from the plot to the performances and the brilliant execution of it.

The story goes like this. Set in Chicago of the 1920s, Velma Kelly (played by Catherine Zeta Jones) is a vaudevillian, that is, someone who is part of a theatrical variety of entertainment. Gaining popularity she is happy until she finds her husband and sister in bed together and kills both of them in a fit of rage.While she is being tried for the murder , another belle fille aspiring to be a part of vaudeville Roxie Hart(Renee Zellweneger) is jailed for murder.Being married to a colourless man Amos she ‘fools around’ with Fred Casely who promises to take her up the ranks in the business.But soon he tells her that he has no contacts and he just used her.Enraged, Roxie shoots Fred and is taken to the same jail as Velma, awaiting hanging.This is what leads to all the drama.

Enter.Billy Flynn(Richard Gere–wow! :D)  who is the only lawyer who can save them from the gallows. The jail’s matron ‘Mama’ Morton arranges for Billy to take Roxie’s case.He projects her as the sweetest murdress that ever was to the media and Chicago loves her!  Enjoying all the popularity that she always wanted Roxie is at the top of the world taking away the limelight from Velma.

Chicago makes for a comical satire on how the truth is often twisted and gladly accepted if served on a glamorous silver platter and also takes a dig at the celebrity hungry media.

The performances of the the three lead actors is brilliant with them doing all the singing and dancing.The choreography never fails to impress especially in numbers like Cell Block Tango where the other women inmates relate their reason for being jailed.The vocals by Catherine Zeta Jones are remarkably strong. A lot of credit should also be given to the the strong potrayal of the characer of Billy Flynn by Richard Gere.

Kudos to Rob Marshall as director  for  delivering such a powerful, lurid,dark yet comic entertainer.The quick pacing, the editing and the entire execution shows great talent.

Chicago is definitely a movie that has it all…crime,comedy,drama,music,dance and All that Jazz!

Must watch!

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