Wednesday, April 11, 2012

It's a yurt and we're in it!

Here's. My pre show recap of this week in Turkmenistan....
Since I can't access the blog online I wasn't sure if my last post went through which became a good excuse for me to slack off on the blogging and just use instagram.
So we arrived Saturday at about 3 or 4 am from Istanbul then waiting to get our visas and went through more security (where we found out that a few people's luggage didn't make it.)
My little carry on bag which I checked did... Phew.
Update: after a couple days they got their bags

Anyhoo we drive into the capital under a giant full moon and see an impeccable clean and empty city of gold and white marble and fountains lit up like las vegas. Palatial opulence abounded.... The rooms had their own works of art individually lit in them.... You get the point. See the previous post.
I stayed up and battled with the Internet discovering that they slow down the speed to next to nothing in the predawn hours. Timewarner does a similar thing during peak times to save bandwidth ....
Then I ate breakfast which I wont recount every meal I ate this week but the diet is no different that the one I eat at home except with a lot more lamb. Eggs meat cheese and coffee. Rice and a meat filled donut at one point.
You read that right.
Meat donuts.
Also we had lunch in a yurt.

So I've been loving the food and I feel great although the smog and dust has been a little hard to get used to.
Sunday we went to the national museum where we saw the worlds largest carpet weighing 2 tons... And other archeological finds the last 7,000 years or so....
Then we went to the ruins of a famous mosque...

SundayMonday and Tuesday we taught workshops first at the local sports exercise and movement center where they teach yoga and dance and sports and what not. Then Monday was with the local folk dancers who do traditional turkmen dances... And they taught us the wedding dance which although it's thousands of years old I secretly hope its just become the equivalent of the electric slide.

Tuesday we went to the national ballet school and after an amazing warm welcoming from the director of the center we went went to meet the dancers and walked in during their barre.
Boys on one side girls on the other. All in traditional ballet uniforms and their teacher giving bar in his full suit and tie.

Of course once Sean starting teaching they all loosened up and jumped right in.
I should probably mention that until fairly recently all dance and opera was completely outlawed. And even more recently it's only been traditional folk dancing and Russian ballet....

The teacher's tie was off and sleeves rolled up by the end as everyone was getting in on the action.

It was pretty great. Plus even without our amazing translator, maya, who translated all of Sean's classes I think it's hard to resist Sean's energy no matter what language you speak.

Today we took a day trip that started at 5am to the old city's of Mary and old merv.... Which along the great silk road are amazing ruins of huge mud brick structures and amazing domed mosques and tomes sounds like a very cute old couple to my american ears.

What else? Last night Becca, my roommate and I, did laundry in the tub and using the laces from my boots rigged a clothes line.... The hotel has a laundry service but we're trying to save as much per diem As possible.

For the first three days our driver was the amazing Sergei ..... He was a huge man with big meaty mitts for hands, who smoked skinny little cigarettes and had a gold tooth, and drove like a bat out of hell.
He even danced really well when prompted.

After seeing a piece we do called metal garden he was convinced that I had the same facial expressions as an old Russian film comedian... I'm assuming a sort of soviet buster Keaton.... But who know. It was a greatly appreciated compliment.... I'm gonna miss him.

What else. We stick out like sore thumbs but everyone has been insanely nice and mostly just seems entertained by us. It's a very polite society but no one is certain about how the performance tomorrow night will be received. It's a sort of social experiment for them.

The president who is the be all end all of power and national identity will be watching either a live feed or see a video tape later to judge whether or not they will have other modern dance companies in the future. While its an honor to be the first I hope we won't be the last.

Oh we also had two meetings with local American language students who were thrilled to speak with and meet natives like us. And I found the kids who loved rock and roll and we bonded over the foo fighters.

While I'm here to spread the cultural language of dance... The roses I make out of napkins have become a big hit.
I made one on the first morning for tony to give our waitress at breakfast and she loved it so much she wanted to learn to make it. So I taught her.
The next morning there were vases filled with paper napkins of every color in the breakfast room.

Spreading art through pub tricks.

Tomorrow we tech and dress and do a workshop for 200 orphans.
Then perform for diplomats and the ambassador and maybe even the president via video feed.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Doobre veecher

Oh and I'm slowly learning Russian.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad



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