Sunday, October 25, 2009


This weekend I had the pleasure to see the yoga movie Enlighten Up! and the ballet Romeo et Juliette. It's given me a lot to think about and I thought I would share some thoughts.

Enlighten Up! is a documentary that features a documentarian who follows a newbie for 6 months as he explores the world of yoga and tries to make sense of it all. The subject, Nick Rosen, is as pragmatic as they come and we follow him from New York to LA to India as he quests to figure out why people do yoga. I enjoyed the movie although it was flawed (it was basically the journey that the documentarian wanted to take, and Nick was trying to go from zero to yogi in 6 months). It seems silly to flit from one teacher to another and sample yoga as if you are in a candy shop trying all the flavours.

The journey that the easy-on-the-eyes Nick takes mirrors a journey that I have been taking, trying to find answers, trying to find the perfect style, trying to find the perfect guru. I've come to discover that there are different styles, there are different ways of approaching the same problem. If there is one point in space, there are an infinite number of ways of getting there. Ultimately it isn’t about finding anything external at all, but discovering your self and your style. The filmic journey provided moments of humour, instances of captivating imagery and an interesting main character (interesting more for his pragmatism more so than his looks). But it really posed a very deep and confusing question: what is yoga really? And I have come to realize that it is an awareness and a point of view on the world, about that whole world inside you and all the invisible clutter that needs recognition and overturning. And while the film didn't quite get there, I didn't really expect it to in retrospect, but it certainly did crisscross the path that I have been treading myself.

Les Grands Ballets Canadiens recounted the very familiar yet always tragic tale of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Restaging Jean-Christophe Maillot's version of the story set to Prokofiev's music, the rendition I saw last night was full of passion, danced on a simple set with some stunning costumes. I am always in awe of what dancers can convey without the use of words - pure communication, emotion at its raw-est. Even the conveyance of love - such an abstract emotion - was rendered with a gesture of hands uniting and moving in vertical wave motion, in unison. And the gesture first 'spoken' by Romeo and Juliet came up again and again, re-enacted in a puppet show, reminisced by the lovers and rendered tragic in the final moments of the show. When Tybalt died, Lady Capulet (Aline Shurger) took my breath away, dancing with such grief, with swooping movements, her hair bursting out of her tight bun, the black and grey billows of her dress, the violent loss of her cape.

Throughout the performance I had chills, Prokofiev's thundering and dramatic Dance of the Knights penetrated right into me. The cast featured many talented dancers from the GBC's company, especially Mercutio (Andre Silva) who danced with personality and extra athleticism. It's amazing when moments in a ballet can make you laugh out loud. Or remain stunned, as the case was at the end of the evening last night.

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