I love Delft

386145_908785100569_857120293_nSure when people think of the Netherlands or Holland the first city to come to mind is Amsterdam. I do love AMS but its not actually my favorite city in these parts. I love Delft. I’m not even sure if it counts as a city, as its quite small. That may be part of the charm. There’s all the old architecture, and canals that you want to see in a good Dutch town, but the entire city center is walkable. In fact most of it is a pedestrian only zone, that means you can stroll, skip, or cartwheel to your heart’s content. Just look out for the bikes.

65210_938565630149_1301219293_n There’s a great market here on Saturdays with food, little shops, and tons of great antique finds. Delft is famous for its blue and white ceramics, as well as the home to Johanas Vermeer (painter of the the Girl with the Pearl Earring), and last but not least IKEA and the 1euro breakfast. As its just a short bike ride away I take advantage of nice weather by biking over and having some hang time in the central market square.

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Things I’ve seen onstage

563168_211017592370984_1424138682_nI’m pretty much a regular at the Lucent Danstheater. After attending 3 more dance performances, I practically own the place. Ok, not really, but the people that serve drinks do recognize us. I may be going overboard with all these dance shows, but I really don’t know the next time I’ll be able to see so much great dance. I gatta take while its available. The great part about these shows is how unique they have all been. I couldn’t say  say what I like best because they each have had something special.

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Most recently Ria and I attended another NDT performance, the Programma IV, a night with Crystal Pite. (if we didn’t miss programma 3 we would have seen the whole NDT season).  This was a performance of NDT unlike anything I’ve seen before. Previous shows have had choreography that highlighted the perfect bodies and technique of the company members. However the first piece was heavy on the theatrical elements and character rather than technique. The best dancing was during several pas de duex towards the end. The second piece was quite dark and less character driven than the first. There were more brilliant duets with one dancer wearing a full black suit so they were really only visible part of the time. The only group dance of the night was done at the end with the fully company dancing in complete synchronization while wearing loose black sweat suits. Unexpected, but brilliant.

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While NDT is one long dancegasm, Rotterdam’s Scapino Ballet created a version of Romeo and Juliet that I actually enjoyed watching. The Shakespeare play can be a little too long, (or at least that was the case with my high school’s production) and ABT’s version was the only ballet I have ever walked out of. But Scapino kept me enthralled the entire time. I felt my muscles twitching in my seat, as I wanted to get up and dance myself. I’m not talking YMCA or “twist and shout” wedding dances. This show made me want to go take a modern technique class again, specifically a Jenny Backhaus modern class. While most R/J show’s have me celebrating the deaths and the end of the play, I was surprised that the ending came so soon. I was just getting into it. This show was able to take a classic story and make it entertaining, by showing that a story can be clearly told through dance without the pantomime that is far often found in classical ballet. Not only was I throughly entertained, but inspired to take a good modern class again.

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Then there was Botantica by Momix. This show wasn’t so much about a single story, or showcasing technical perfection, it was the exploration of choreographer Moses Pendleton’s imagination. Think the dance version of Fantasia. There were small bits of this and that, ranging from a Dinosaur duet to a glow-in-the-dark shape forming piece. Many of the pieces were much too difficult to explain. In fact I was trying to figure out what was happening most of the time. I found myself asking “is that a foot or a hand? is that a person or set piece? How many people are there?” Botanica demonstrated the possibilities of dance and choreography.

I’m not done watching dance yet. There’s still a birthday show, as well as Swan Lake and hopefully a couple more shows before my time here is over.

afternoon in the Gemeente

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There’s a whole list of reasons why I love living in the Netherlands. One of them being the accessibility of museums. I don’t think this is unique to the country, rather I have had more opportunities to go while living here. I have been fortunate enough to have a museum card that gets me into 98% of the museums in the country FOR FREE! Well, we had to pay for the card, but it paid for itself after 3 months. I love having the card especially when the weather is less than perfect, and in this country that’s pretty often. Last week when the snow was turned to slush by a huge rain storm I escaped to the Gemeentemuseum in Den Haag to take in some culture. I spend the afternoon gazing over Andy Warhol’s, Rembrandt’s, Mondrian’s, vintage clothing, antique Royal Delftware, and an assortment of other delights to the eye. Its been thoroughly enjoyable catering to my inner museum nerd this year. And there’s still more see before I leave.

Winter (China) lights

IMGP7588 There were several times while I was in Japan that I saw Asia trying to do Europe, food, festivals, architecture, but last week was one of the first that I saw Europe trying to do Asia. (Other than the several all-you-can-eat tabehodai sushi dinners) The Euromast Park in Rotterdam put on a China lights festival. For three weeks a series of instillations lit up the park, adding some radiance to the January/February gloom. 

IMGP7560 IMGP7572 The displays were much bigger than I anticipated, many of them were more than 12ft high, and the dragon was more than 50ft long. A few other friends and I braved the freezing night air to take in the Asian festivities, and it was well worth losing feeling in my fingers and toes.

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See ya Later B!

Queen Beatrix abdicates

In case you haven’t been keeping up with the latest news in the world’s monarchies, there’s been quite a shake up for the Dutch Royal family. (Yes, the Netherlands has a royal family) Last week Queen Beatrix announced that she will be abdicating her crown for her son William-Alexander to take over. Miss Beatrix has been Queen for 33 years, and loved by much of the country. This announcement came as no surprise as there has been talk of her stepping aside for the last couple years. The inauguration of Prince Willem will take place in April while I’m still in the country. You better believe I’ll be going to that party. (well not the actual crowning as I’m not the member of a royal family) This will be the second royal encounter I’ve had since moving to this fine country. If only there could be a royal wedding I think my royal encounters would be complete.

February already!?!

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Oh my heck its February already! Where in the world does time go? Although this month can really suck, its still cold, we’ve been cold for months already and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight, there are a few things that make this month a little better, or down right delightful. 1) Valentine’s Day– Don’t be one of those cliche V-day haters. I don’t have a boyfriend wah wah wah. My happiness depends on having a man friend in my life. I don’t know about you, but even though I don’t have a man-friend for V-day this year, there’s still loads of people that I love in my life. My parents, friends, and myself. Its a great day to show all those people a little extra love, and treat myself. I love baking treats for my friends and passing the love all around, and having an excuse to be a little extra happy. Sure you can spend the day sulking but that doesn’t do you or anyone else any favors. And thus concludes my Valentine’s Day soap box, thanks for listening. 2) My birthday- self explanatory, who doesn’t love a good excuse to get down and boogie. And this year is a little extra special. I’ve been abstaining from sugar since New Year’s and the sugar fast will break on Feb 24th. I plan on eating my way into a sugar induced high /coma for the entirety of the day. If i don’t feel like a pile of crap the next day I didn’t do my job right. Sure this may cancel out all the health benefits of the sugar strike, but this sugar binge is going to be all the sweeter. (pun intended) Even if you aren’t with me for my birthday, feel free to celebrate with me by eating all sweets in your reach and then going out and getting more