Friday, October 20, 2006

Amsterdam Journal

Amsterdam Flight, originally uploaded by Leo el Feo.

On wednesday, oct 18 I took the 9:30 AVE (high speed train) from ZGZ to Madrid, where I took the 1:20 KLM flight to AMS. It was very cloudy throughout the flight and when I was awake, caught glimpses of some very beautiful cloud formations. As we descended into SCHIPHOL and broke through the clouds, flew over the IJ River where the plane made a U-turn to make the landing. The sights were amazing,and it's incredible how much water there is around AMS. The airport is actually around 8m below sea level, and lower at some points.
Made my way to the Muziktheater via Conexxion, a service that connects hotels to the airport. Met up with Michele at the entrance. It was great to see her after so many months. We went around the corner to do some catching up while we ate this great lentil soup ( with prunes, beef and some other stuff). Afterwards she went back inside to prepare for her debut as Carmen in the ballet of the same name. I walked around a little, revisiting some of the places I had been to in late february, early march. Outside the theater there is a great ecological Photo Exhibition. The photographs are taken from a helipcopter, all over the world ( there are 3 from the DR), and show things related to the environment and global warming. Some of the pictures are breathtaking, others are shocking.

Went in to the ballet. There I met Michele's flatmate and her mom.
There were 3 ballets performed that night. Two 20 mins pieces and then Carmen.
I knew I was in trouble when I began to doze off the minute the first ballet started. Well, I don't actually remember much of the first one. People in grey tights jumping around to this sequenced, syncopated, very percussive music. When it ended, during the intermission, I hurried to the men's room to wash my face, had some water and hoped I wouldn't doze off during the next dance.
This one was a little interisting. Titled Crossing Paths, the music was a blend of Bach and arabic music. I kinda of got the story, and enjoyed the dancing, though for a few moments I felt it was dragging. The contrast between west and middle east was stark musically, but the wailing in arabic put me in a kind of trance, and alas, I briefly dozed off a few times.

So in the next intermission I did what any brave soul who's going to see a relative perform would do: Had me a good old cup of java.
I hadn't seen Michele dance since she performed in Santo Domingo, Oct. 2005 with the Washington Ballet. So it had been a while since I had gone through the worrying, and the stress and the heart attacks I get any time she is going to perfom. It has been that way since she was little, and I would get nervous and anxious, rooting for her to land some difficult turn, or a particular lift, or fouetees, or whatever. It was difficult in DR when she was a teen, and I would videotape he shows, so I basically knew the choreography by heart.
The show went well. The crowd warmed up to her, and the production as a whole was very impressive. I liked this take on Carmen, and any time a full orchestra accompanies a ballet, it's something beautiful to witness.
There were a few moments that I got teary eyed because of the passion she and her partner put into some of the parts. I've always enjoyed how expressive Michele is on stage. She dances with feeling, she bears her emotions. Her mom would have been really proud.

After the show, we went to this place called Wok and Walk. Great, quick chinese food cooked right in front of you. Then we took the Tram home. She told me, "Get ready for the stairs". Jejeje. Steep as hell and very small steps, but worth it. A beautiful flat with wooden floors and ceiling, warm lightning, comfortable furniture, big rooms and huge windows ( standard AMS windows). I find it cozy.
There we all talked for a while about the show. Then I logged on to the web to let the people back in ZGZ know I'd made it ok.
It's incredible how much can get done in one day. After a coupl of glasses of Argentinean red wine, and some conversation, finally went to sleep with some music in my headphones. The pace I had been living in ZGZ had kept me up til almost 2am.

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