Sunday, April 23, 2006

It's in my body

Who said that our bodies don't have a memory?
I had two very interesting experiences this weekend. Both had a very pleasant physical effect.
Friday night I finally made it to the Tapestry Folkdance Center in Minneapolis. I say finally because I've been meaning to go there for 5 years now. First I attended the folkdance class and then the folkdance ball. It was amazing! I totally felt connected to that environment. I was able to follow most of the dances pretty easily. I think that was not only because I've been dancing for more than 25 years (ugh! It sounds like I am very old) but also because I feel a deep and strong connection with ethnic and folk dances. I felt very comfortable, full of life and joy! I was also able to dance a couple of Argentine dances: gato y chacarera. Vessela and her family were there, and other friends. It was very nice to share the night with all of them.
Saturday night I saw the Argentine show "Tangos" created by Luis Bravo. The music, the songs and the dances were fantastic. I was almost in trance every time I heard the violins in the orchestra. The bandoneon players were very good, too. I was not particularly moved by their version of "Adios Nonino" (a piece I love) but the rest was great and very well played. Like with the folkdances, I could feel something in my body that was triggered by those tangos. After all I was raised listening to that music. It always great to feel so alive in many ways.

Monday, April 17, 2006

A different Easter

Last night I had Easter dinner with my friend Vessela, her family and friends. It was a very unusual but pleasant Easter dinner for me. Vessela and I practiced our chacarera, which we are presenting at Noche Hispana DOS (May 19 and 20) at Patrick's Cabaret. After that other guests arrived and we have a delicious dinner with several Bulgarian meals. The food was very good, but the two things that enjoyed most were:
1) The conversation during the meal: it was varied, deep and full of passion. What a pleasure to be surounded by such interesting people and discuss and share our ideas on many topics.
2) Dancing: Vessela and I started out by showing what we have worked on so far with our chacarera. But then the dancing continued with Romanian, Servian and Bulgarian dances (this last one dance by everyone present there). What a delight to share the enthusiams for dances!

Immigration, culture, string theory and, of course, weather were some of the topics touched through the night. Living in Minnesota, but being one somewhere else, it's hard not to talk about the cold winters. But I think that as far as we are able to keep this warm gathering to share about culture, dance, friendship, etc. the outside weather will matter less and less with time.

Thanks Vessela for this opportunity!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Spring sewing fever

Last weekend I had a very calm relaxing end of my Spring Break. I spend a lovely time in St. Cloud with my friend Scott. Boy that's a small town! :-) But it was great to get away from Minneapolis if only for 24 hours. Not computer, no cell phone... just countryside.. :-)
My most crazy adventure there was to buy a sewing machine. The sale was too great to resist.
The problem was that back home, Saturday and Sunday, I had this compulsive behavior to sew all day! Mainly bags and other small projects, though, but it was hard to concentrate on anything else. To compensate with that, I found "Gabriel", my PDA.. so... Crafts: 1 -- Tech: 1

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Sewing and Low (or Lost) Tech

If only I could find the memory card of my digital camera (ugh!) right now you would be looking at a picture of me in my new pants, hand-made!
Today I was lucky enough that my friend Felix agreed to teach me how to sew. Many people know that I have become a somehow crafty person with all the knitting and needle-felting I do. Sewing is something that I always wanted to learn, but at home I was not allowed to touch the sewing machine. There was a good reason behind that. I was quite known for taking small electronics apart (and not necessarily putting them back to their previous operational state). But may be another reason was "that's not something boys do". Well, I am not a boy any more, I am a man and I am glad I can do all the knitting, crafts and sewing I want. :-)
Back to my digital camera, this new trend of hand made things might be having an effect on the technology around me. For example, I have been living without my PDA since December now. I know that's hard to believe, but for some reason it's somehow working. Even Electra (my old laptop) is demanding more attention from me. I don't take her out of her case as often anymore. But don't worry, Rudolph (my desktop computer) is not going anywhere and he is quite happy with the 24/7 attention of broadband internet he receives!

Spring Break

Last Monday I started Spring Break at Spring Hill Waldorf School. It's hard to think of a break when I still have to teach my 8-9 am classes at Orono and attend my classes at MCTC. But at least I am still able to have a sense of rest and variety during the day.
Monday afternoon I also had the chance to teach an argentine dance called "chacarera" to Vessela, my new friend from Bulgaria. I had a great dinner with her and her family. Vessela has recently traveled to Argetina, she is very interested in tango and other dances as well. She and I usually exchange some funny or thoughtful emails during the day. I enjoy talking with her about culture, meeting new friends, dance, etc.
Today, I should be finishing a couple of papers and working on other projects, but instead I am working on my new play (details coming soon!) and some other personal stuff. I have found an old website that has a blog-style narration of my adventures in Europe. I have decided to transfer those here. It will be a kind of retrospect blogging. We'll see how that goes.

Sunday, April 02, 2006


I have always being a big fan of the greatest Argentine actress Norma Aleandro. There are almost no words to describe her work. I have recently searched on Netflix for all her movies and put them in my queue. Last week I received "Cleopatra", where she shares the screen with fresh Natalia Oreiro and handsome Leonardo Sbaraglia. But Norma keeps surprising me. The movie has lots of similarities with "Thelma and Louise" (movie that I also like): two women abandon their "regular" lives in search for happiness . The main difference here is the age difference, so Norma and Natalia naturally bond in a mother-and-daughter-like relationship.
The scene that moved me the most, brought tears to my eyes and made me love Norma (and her character) even more is that when Cleopatra is driving on the road, Natalia and Leo sleeping by her side, and she "discovers" her happiness while listening to Francisco Ortega's "Que Tan Contenta". Her transformation is incredible. She really proves there she needs no words at all. Diosa!

Cleopatra (2004)


A raucous road movie that reads like a South American THELMA AND LOUISE, CLEOPATRA scored six nominations at the 2004 Silver Condor Awards, Argentina's equivalent of the Oscars. Prominent Argentine actress Norma Aleandro stars as the title character, a retired schoolteacher who becomes restless after her children have left home; her husband Roberto (Hector Alterio) is an alcoholic from whom she is estranged, and she is unsatisfied with her life and her inability to make ends meet. Cleopatra decides to pursue her lifelong wish to be an actor, and in the process meets Sandra, a soap star whose dissatisfaction mirrors her own. They decide to go on a weekend getaway together, and the adventure they share is one that nobody is likely to soon forget; they encounter love, heartbreak, and a string of unforeseeable events that are sure to keep audiences on their toes!

Tí­tulo original: Cleopatra

Sinopsis: Cleo (Norma Aleandro) es una maestra jubilada, casada con Roberto (Héctor Alterio), que lleva dos años desempleado, y madre de dos hijos que viven lejos de Buenos Aires. Hasta ahora, Cleo ha sido todo cuanto se esperaba de ella: buena madre, buena esposa, luchadora y compañera responsable. Pero ni ella misma sabe lo que puede llegar a ser si se lo propone. Sandra (Natalia Oreiro), en cambio, es todo lo que los demás han hecho de ella: estrella de televisión subida al tren de la fama, alocada, bulí­mica, caprichosa... En el fondo, una provinciana desprotegida cuyo ­ímpetu aún debe medir. Setenta y dos horas serán suficientes para que ambas mujeres empiecen a ser, de una vez por todas, ellas mismas. Hartas de sus rutinas, se lanzan a vivir un fin de semana diferente, pero no saben que han dado el primer paso para cambiar definitivamente el rumbo de sus destinos. En el trayecto conocerán a Carlos (Leonardo Sbaraglia), un joven de barrio que se suma a la aventura.