Friday, December 15, 2006

Day & night

Friday mornings are my teaching time: Turkish and Moroccan women who want to learn the local language. The first hour is spend on 'what is done in following buildings': post office, hospital, train station, police station, job centres... I am working with a small group of 'advanced' students, so they can explain quite a lot. They freely share personal aspects of their lives, talking about visits to the hospitals, naming procedures, glossing over the, in my eyes, more than borderline harassment of the controlling doctors of the social services. Same background noise at the job centre where a seamstress is send for a job as computer programmer. Of course she has to physically go to the employer, who is as puzzled as she is about this job offer. The employer kindly signs the paper that she showed op where she had been sent to by whom? An incompetent dimwit or a power hungry aggressive passive borderline racist? Ladies, I doff my hat to you. The second hour the handbook wanted us to speak about food and traditions concerning food... Fatima gave me the recipe for Moroccan soup, Hediye favours Turkish pizza's over Italian ones and explained how to make a special sweet to end the period of mourning after a year. Ilham likes to eat out... I explain the difference in etiquette between US and Europe and they add the beauty of their culture to the mix...
The night offered Maurice Béjart. For his 80 st birthday a special program was made: the patricide, of the grandfather of modern dance by his students called 'L'Art d'étre Grand-père', followed by the exquisite Brel and Barbara with among others fun parts like 'Rosa, Rosae', 'Ne me quite pas' which brought tears to my eyes, the incredible, grand 'Valse à mille temps'. La Solitude, made one indeed feel lonely and 'Quand on a que l'amour', which as far as I am concerned, they can play at my funeral as a last message, maybe followed by 'Avec élégance, where despair should be pretty and at the end is even combative and hopeful. The movements at times where literal transpositions of the texts, other times the rhythm dictates the form. Then after the break followed the gentle, generous virility of the Bolero of Ravel, a monument of dance. I think it was the 1961 interpretation of the music that was performed. Then it was a scandal and a shock, now my parents, both also around 80, loved it. My father said: 'I have seen Béjart before, but I understand it now. I didn't then.' Working class became middle class and appropriated the avant-garde master... Well an early Christmas present turned out great. Thanks for beauty in the world.

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