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Dancers and Newspapers

February 25, 2008

Ian and I ended up in the paper twice over the past couple of days–one article about the ballet showcase, and one on how I’m interpreting the “spirit of North Dakota” as an outsider. It’s nice to get the attention, though the “media star” jokes at work are already starting.

Here’s the feature article, and here’s the one on the ballet.

Playing with the ballet was a wonderful experience, one of my top five gigs ever, I think. Ian and I, joined by local guitar whiz John Harr, did three pieces from Clifden Sky Road: “Locomotive Pie,” “Jenny Wren,” and “Illigitmi Non Carborundum.” Choreographer Hollis Mackintosh put together a beautiful set of dances to the music, and local artist Brian Hushagen painted a backdrop inspired by the music. We were one of six individual pieces in the first half. The second half was A Midsummer Night’s Dream, choreographed by Northern Plains’ artistic director Robert McFarland to Mendelsohn’s music for the piece. I enjoyed watching from the wings as much as my fifteen minutes of playing. And it was a great experience for Ian, being a part of a large production that included thirty or forty dancers, musicians, actors, and stagehands in a real theatre. The Belle Mehus theatre is old and beautiful, with brass railings and a velvet curtain and the whole works. Ian thought it was pretty cool to be backstage amongst the bustle and preparations, and he was interested in the workings of the ropes and pulleys that raise and lower scenery and scrims.

There was a DVD made of Saturday night’s performance, and once I have that I’ll try to post some video here.

The next event, coming fast and furious, is a visit from my friend David, who’s coming to do a series of lectures and workshops, culminating with a house concert at our place Friday night and a children’s concert at the public library on Saturday. It’ll be good to catch up with David, who is soon to retire from music to pursue a Master’s in Peace studies. We’re part of his bid to play the last four states he hasn’t been to.

And now to work. My plan for today is to outline the paper I’m presenting in Savannah next week. My long term goal is to write that paper before I get to the conference…

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