Some unenchanted evening
“The Northern Lights School of dance had done it again…,” was my feeling as I came out of the first part of its show staging Cinderella on Saturday afternoon.
“An amazing, well-produced show, blending in, in a fascinating way, all levels of talents from the very young three-years-old, not quite aware that they are on stage, to the graduating students, showing off their well-mastered skills acquired right here on Yukon ground.”
I felt much honoured that my eight-year-old daughter had, once again, been part of this production.
When a friend met me during intermission with her three-year-old daughter, whose eyes where indeed gleaming with enchantment, I felt the child had really been nourished with something magical, something precious, which is becoming quite rare in today’s children entertainment.
As she asked my opinion about staying for the second part of the show, my intuition told me the eclectic pieces and the lengthiness of the second part, which I had partly seen on the general rehearsal, would break the spell the little one was carrying with her, and I recommended not staying. Her daughter was already carrying enough images and sensations to savour and digest.
However, I was staying because it was the highlight for my daughter to watch the dancers she didn’t have the opportunity to see while she was dancing.
Again, I was fascinated with all the variety, creativity and skills put together by the teachers and students of all ages.
I really have to tip my hat to the Nightclub Suite featuring adult tap dancers — some of whom had taken to dancing later in life.
I knew that it must take quite some courage to be on stage and they took on the challenge with lots of joy.
Also, the three solos of the graduating students were exquisitely performed.
Once or twice, through all the pieces, I had to reassure myself that the attitudes or costumes of the dancers were not impressing overly mature messages on my daughter.
But Mira is my fifth child and I have learned to accept, often with a heavy heart, that the ways of society don’t always fit with what I want to teach my children.
Nearing 50, I have also learned to let go.
However, when it came to the last piece, my heart was screaming with anger and disgust.
Of course, technically it was quite beautifully done, but choosing to feature Cell Block Tango as a closing of a matinee is simply a mistake.
Other pieces had been cut out, so why would they keep such a piece filled with dirty language, with completely mature (or completely immature) content and exhibiting provocative poses?
I heard of very young dancers imitating the “spread eagle pose” after the show!
Not only did I feel sorry for the audience, but even more for the dancers, young girls between 13 and 18.
Probably the little ones will only have understood half of the content (and this is already quite too much!), but I was questioning what would motivate young teenagers fully aware of content to be part of that show.
I felt especially sorry for all the graduating students who were in a certain way signing off from the Northern Light School of Dance with this inappropriate piece.
For the sake of art, do we have to accept that the senses of our children are bombarded with foul language, violence and sexual content?
And if the motivation of the teenagers was to protest violence and sexual misconduct, there are better ways and better venues in which to do so.
I would invite all mothers and fathers to speak up (as I know that I am not the only one) to ask that there is a certain code of ethics adopted by the Northern Lights School of Dance, as well as by the Yukon Arts Centre, to make sure that what is available to children and teenagers is appropriate for their ages.
Tell it to the Chinese
This past year, not a week goes by without seeing a picture of, hearing an interview with, or reading about David Suzuki or his foundation.
Suzuki is a good broadcaster, but to consider him a serious journalist or scientist is absurd.
If he really wants to impact global climate and air pollution, he should go to where major emissions are occurring now and where major emissions will be 10 to 20 years from now, and try to influence those countries to change.
It amounts to nothing more than grandstanding, not journalism or science.
China is spewing out nearly the same, and soon to be more, CO2 and pollutants as the USA.
But the USA’s economy is four times larger than China’s, so per GDP unit, China is emitting four times more than the USA.
In the future, China’s emissions will be staggering.
China is building 500 new coal-burning power plants, to add to their existing 2,000. These are low efficiency, high-polluting, coal burning plants. They emit 10 times more CO2 and pollutants than high-efficiency coal-burning plants.
I recently talked to a mechanical engineer who had worked in China. He said that that country’s coal-powered plants are the equivalent of putting coal in a pile and lighting it. The technologies exist to allow these plants to run more cleanly, and there is no excuse not to employ them.
If Suzuki and other so-called committed environmentalists want to do something significant, then go to China and India and get them to bring down their emissions.
Because their emissions are increasing so fast — in reality, at an exponential rate — our planet will be unable to absorb and tolerate these pollutants.
Our planet’s future depends on action there, now.
Then and only then will they have done something of importance and worthy of our admiration.
Lisle W. Gatenby