Video - Dance Stories
7 Stories about 7 very different dancers in the wide world of professional dance from the experienced to the new graduate to the CAT programme.
September 14th, 2015watch now
Welcome dear readers to our weekly roundup of stories from the wide world of culture some all or none of which might have something to do with dance. So spin the wheel and take your chances.
What with all the doom and gloom these days about cuts, criminals and terrorism it's time for a little hope, a little bit of inspiration.
The BBC World Service programme "Outlook" featured the story of one Adrianne Haslet-Davis a ballroom dancer from Boston in the United States. Ms Haslet-Davis lost part of her leg in the bombing attacks at the Boston Marathon a just a few weeks ago. She took time out from recovery/life to join the BBC show to tell her story.
Despite her injuries Ms Haslet-Davis is keen to return to dancing and explains how she will be making an appearance on the US network television show "Dancing with the Stars" later in the year.
Also joining her on the programme, from Brighton in the UK, was one Welly O'Brien. Ms O'Brien also lost one of her legs in an accident while travelling in India 20 years ago but went on to become a professional dancer touring with Candoco Dance Company for several years.
Unlike most BBC output the interviews with the two dancers are fairly extensive and in-depth. The interview begins right at the start of the show.
Less Guns More Painting.
Previous story not inspiring enough for you? Then let's move to the United States and NBC news who reported this week on a school in Roxbury Massachusetts that turned failure into success using the arts.
Gun control and school security was thrown into sharp focus in the United States following the school shooting at Sandyhook elementary school in Newton, Connecticut late last year.
The National Rifle Association (also know as Bat Sh*t Crazy Incorporated) put forward a plan for armed guards, bullet proof glass and guns for teachers as a way to stop the madness. Banning the actual guns, as far as the NRA (BSCI) was concerned was out of the question.
School principal Andrew Bott had other ideas though when he took over the job at Orchard Gardens Elementary School. Following huge problems over many years the school and its students had been consistently failing and falling behind on test scores.
Mr Bott decided to fire all the security guards and dismantle the security infrastructure and instead spend all that money on arts programmes for the students, with dramatic positive effects.
"A lot of my colleagues really questioned the decision," he said. "A lot of people actually would say to me, 'You realize that Orchard Gardens is a career killer? You know, you don't want to go to Orchard Gardens.'"
But now, three years later, the school is almost unrecognizable. Brightly colored paintings, essays of achievement, and motivational posters line the halls. The dance studio has been resurrected, along with the band room, and an artists' studio.
Remember this story the next time your in a discussion with a politician about the billions spent on "security" vs the pittance spent on the arts.
Speaking of Bat Sh*t Crazy
The Guardian reports that a somewhat controversial version of the Wagner Opera 'Tannhäuser' at the Rheinoper in Düsseldorf has been cancelled because the "Nazi themed" opera managed to offend and disgust almost everybody who saw it. Some people actually needed medical treatment after watching the show.
"The production, which opened last Saturday and was expected to be one of the highlights of the celebrations for the bicentenary of Wagner's birth later this month, has a Nazi storyline, and includes scenes of people dying in gas chambers, being shot and raped, and of members of a family having their heads shaved before their execution."
Wagner was much admired by Adolf Hitler although that wasn't really Mr Wagner's fault since he died in 1883 (Hitler was born in 1889) although he was thought be more than a little antisemitic. Given the history of the composer it's not too difficult to understand why many people would get upset and more than a little bit outraged over the content.
The opera's director Burkhard C Kosminski refused to change any of the content for "artistic reasons" or because he's a massive, attention seeking muppet. Take your pick.
The Week in Tweets
In every generation there is a chosen one RT @sanj0yr0y: launch date for my website Mon 20 May 2013. 10th anniversary of last Buffy episode— Tim Wood (@timcwood) May 6, 2013
Here in TheLab™ we are not sure what's more distressing. The fact that a critic is launching a website or the fact that Tim Wood, press flack from ThePlace, chose to join in on the painful Buffy The Vampire Slayer themed promo.
Let's get one thing straight. Buffy The Vampire Saved World (a lot apparently! Ed!), these two on the other make the world wish she had failed. Now that's comedy!
Have a nice weekend.