Saturday, June 23, 2007

Friday date night

After work, I met M at the Sadler's Wells for a spellbinding dance performance by Taiwan's Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Cursive: A Trilogy. Organic, amorphic, primodial movements set against the sound of the sea, the rain, the howling wind, foghorns, bird song, bells. Dancers spinning like dervishes, pulsating like a slow heart or undulating as one amoebic form while scrolls of rice paper unfurled and streams of ink dripped down to the floor. True to the spirit of chance as set forth in the I-Ching or The Book of Changes. The dance was inspired by kuang chao or wild calligraphy, considered the pinnacle of Chinese calligraphy in which all the rules are broken and the characters set free from form. You can immediately see the diverse mix of influences in their artistic approaches, from the kinetic alacrity of martial arts and the meditative motions of tai chi, to the graceful fluidity of ballet and the chaotic exhuberism of modern dance. Oh, to have that level of command over my body - no, not command as such, but for my limbs and joints and muscles and bones to be as limber and as supple and as fluid! Perhaps it's back to the yoga studio I go. I first became aware of this dance company at last year's sublime Sacred Monsters performance with Sylvie Guillem and Akram Khan - partly choreographed by Cloud Gate founder Lin Hwai-min. This is what I can't wait to see - Akram Khan's collaboration with the group for Lost Shadows.

Having just missed one of the many rain showers we're suffering in London of late, we walked to the bustling Exmouth Market and had rosy apple cocktails and beers at The Ambassador. The Kasteel Cru beer was deliciously clean and sparkly and I learned that night that it was brewed with Champagne yeast. Then across the road to Sam and Sam Clark's unpretentious Moro. Only the wait staff looked under 30. The diners looked like they read The Guardian, grew organic vegetables in their allotments, were lecturers or senior public sector workers, and only wore fine-knit woolies - no suits. The food was rustic and robust, though a touch too oily and fatty for my liking. We started with grilled sardines and baby broad beans with slivers of dried tuna and mint dressing. For mains, I ate wood-roasted pork with salsa mojo and new potatoes and M ate a meaty hake cooked in salsa verde with peas and clams. We finished with chocolate and apricot tart and Malaga raisin ice cream with Pedro Ximenez. We washed everything down with delicous glasses of dry sherry and red Massaya wine. Too tired and inebriated for a bus or the Tube, we hailed a black cab to take us home.

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