Thursday, September 11, 2008
First week of dancing
The area in which the students are living is called Villeurbanne. It’s a quiet, residential area on the edge of the 3rd arrondissement of the city. Our normal mode of transport is to take Tram 3 and then the Metro into the city center, but there is also a bus (99) into town. It became clear by the second day that it would be a very good idea to have student transportation passes for everyone. This allows them to go anywhere on any of the transport systems (metro, tram, bus, trolley, funicular) all day and evening for a single, monthly fee that ends up being less than half the cost of paying by the trip. The passes are essential in that they allow us to get to all the venues of the Biennale, which are all over the city and in the suburbs. It’s also a lot more convenient just to wave your pass at the machine than to hunt around for change for the ticket machine. The transport system is remarkably clean and safe, and (as Courtney says) the tram looks like something from Disneyworld.
We saw our second performance this evening at the l’Amphi of the Opera de Lyon. We got there early enough to watch the break-dancers spinning on the marble floor of the portico of the Opera House. The performance by the company Anou Skan was very different from the previous night’s in that it was very ritualistic and often used slow and gestural movement. It was performed by a company of three dancers with an actor reciting passages from the Aeneid. We spent some time afterwards in café/discussion, and then walked back to Place Bellecour via the Rhone quayside, a walk that allows wonderful views of the lighted bridges and buildings of the Presque’ Isle. These photos show the Opera House with photos of dancers in the windows, one of our café classes, and Frederic the gnome, who goes along with us at times.