Contemporary dance was a route not taken at the beginning of my 20s, following a seamless transition from playing my favorite sport of rugby! Dance has held a place in my life ever since, both through over 45 years of dancing, and as a metaphor for living. This is especially through taking class at the Dance Place (for many years with Deborah Riley, more recently jazz with Ralph Glenmore) in Washington DC and in the Dance Complex with Jody Weber in Cambridge, MA. My mother started her life dancing, and my niece Caldy is continuing the tradition as super creative professional dancer and choreographer in the UK.
At times my favorite contemporary dance company is Mark Morris. Here’s an excerpts of the wonderful L’Allegro, Il Penseroso ed Il Moderado. In a more radical bent I wish I could have seen Pina Bausch–here’s the trailer for the Wim Wenders’ film. Recently, in late 2016, I acquired a new favorite after seeing in Boston this spectacular performance by the Israeli Vertigo group–here‘s the piece.
A special experience recent years has been taking class with Bill Evans, when he’s visited the Dance Place. He’s a great teacher, and, as someone dancing in his early 70s, a particular inspiration!
Yoga is a complement in the past few years; plus you can do it till you’re really old.
After almost a decade in Peru, Mexico and India, we returned to Washington DC in 2009. It has become a real home, albeit with a regular commute to Cambridge, MA, and periodic visits elsewhere.
In the meantime I fell in love with India, and we maintained a home there until July 2013!
Isabel and my real, long-term spiritual home is in front of the sea in Peru on Playa Señoritas.
And our new place for living and enjoying is in Tourrette-sur-Loup.
Growing up by the Malvern Hills in England instilled a lifelong, almost spiritual, love of nature, in the wild and in the garden.
When living in India full time in 2007-2009, my daily walk with our dogs was in Lodi Gardens, one of the most beautiful gardens in the world.
And in Washington DC I was a volunteer gardener at Dumbarton Oaks from 2000 to 2014, one of the most beautiful gardens in the United States! Saturday gardening was a form of weekly renewal. This was sadly ended in early 2014 owing to bizarre decisions by the current management, who consider engaging with the community risky business. Still the garden remains beautiful and the spirit of the volunteers lives on.
Trees and birds have a special place for me: see below the peepal tree, that is strongly associated with India, and a painting of the swift, that has been everywhere I have.
Here are some great exhibitions I’ve been to in the past few years.
Matta. A major retrospective in Santiago, Chile in early 2012 transformed my view of this artist.
Joan Miró Retrospective, Tate Modern and Washington National Gallery. Another revelation: to see his whole career, and most of all the integration of a deeply political view with an aesthetic journey.
A stunning piece of public art was Doug Aitken’s Song1 projected all round the Hirshhorn for some months on Washington’s Mall. This a wonderful collage to the Flamingo’s “I only have eyes for you”. For a taste see Doug Aitken_Hirshhorn.
And a wonderfully engaging show on assemblage and use of found objects in a 2013 exhibition the Hirshhorn (some examples below) Over, Under, Next: Experiments in Mixed Media
Some gems from summers from 2013 to now in the Côte d’Azur:
The Matisse chapel in Vence, is a wonderful, integrative experience, completely designed by Matisse late in his life at the invitation of his friend and ex-model who became a Dominican nun.
Fondation Maeght, is a lovely site with beautiful sculpture in its gardens, Giacometti and Miró most of all. In 2013 it had a extraordinary exhibition curated by Bernard-Henri Lévy structured around the relationship between philosophy and art–from Plato to the present. You may think BHL to be deep or superficial, but the narrative and interactions across diverse art made for a wonderful experience. In 2014 this was combined with avant-garde music that can be enjoyed as Giacometti sculptures look on.