Skip to main content

Kindness and community 2017/09/13 Prague, Czechia

Zach is an American gentleman who has done a dance tour of Europe by motorbike. We compared stories, how the kindness of strangers and dance community can shape your experience, the beauty of 'paying it forward'. Thank you Zach for welcoming me to Prague with a hosting offer, cake, and a shortlist of your favourite places in the old town. 

Maitrea translates as loving kindness, how fitting. At this elegant vegetarian restaurant, I met the lovely Rumena – a British homeopath in town for a conference. We teamed up to explore the old town, and pooled our knowledge of Prague's history, its many churches, Wenceslas the fratricidal king. We saw the newest oldest synagogue, the Kafka museum, the river banks and bridges. Rumena and I bonded over hats and strudel... between us we bought 3 Tonak hats! Zach! We might be as stylish as you are one day ;)


One of the great things about the dance odyssey... it takes me well off the tourist trail and into real, lived-in neighbourhoods, groovy little bars, creative studio spaces. Cycling does not look so appealing on these busy, hilly, cobbled streets, and rentals are expensive. Still, by public transport I found my way to Cafe Pavlac on the other side of town, with surprising speed.

Apparently I was very lucky to find this blues night because they are few and far between. I got there way too early, but relaxed and did some writing over dinner. When the Martin Chik Blues Band came on, I was the first one on the dance floor... alone at first but found a partner before the song ended. I had a great time leading and following with all the dancers I could get my hands on. The room filled up with dancers and drinkers ... maybe 6-8 couples on the sealed concrete floor. A good turnout considering that there are also two lindy parties on tonight. The band were awesome, and the mix of fast and slow songs was challenging. The last song was fast -- we danced lots of big, wild and silly moves and ended with a little arial... fun!

After walking all day, 2 hours of dancing was enough for me. Luckily there was direct tram to my BnB, right outside the venue. I'm so happy ... all bluesed out, carrot cake to go and a new woolly pearly hat for the suddenly cool Autumn. Prague, you are a classy town.



Popular posts from this blog

Physical poetry – Contact Improv in Madrid

On my first visit to Madrid, I wrote about exploring Lavapies Tabacalera by day – sophisticated art installations in warehouse galleries. On this second visit to Madrid, I discovered the Tabacalera studios by night – a living, breathing art community. Cuban flautist and poet Liz stayed in touch after our chance meeting in Lisbon, and joined me for this contact improvisation adventure. Tabacaleras are former tobacco factories, given over to the arts by many Spanish municipalities. Passing through the unmarked portal into this furnace of creativity, I quickly felt relaxed and at home. Liz said she had never seen anything like it it. To get the dance studio, we traversed a cavernous room of giant murals into a corridor of spectacular street art, past booming reggae and African DJ dens, out into the yard. A few oil drum fires burned, and people gathered around to keep warm, under the gaze of Albert Einstein. If only he could see his two-metre high portrait, spray painted on old wo

From seaweed to bananas – Contact Improv in Dublin

The dancers were sitting in a circle when I arrived. A stranger, I was greeted with words of welcome and invited to join the end of a class by Yaeli. We danced as seaweed buffeted by waves, brushed by fish... first anchored on rocks, then taking flight into the water. This seaweed dance was one of my best trio experiences, taking turns with David and Fergus in the roles of weed or wave or fish. A friendly jam followed, including dances with Isabel and Jacob.  When the jam was over, we said goodbye with hugs. I felt great... welcomed to the community, emotionally and physically invigorated. I walked to my bus stop with a smile on my face. Though bus rides are usually tedious and smelly in the damp Dublin winter, I smiled the whole way. I got off and walked the few hundred metres home in the freezing rain. Soon I was home with hot tea, a hot bath, and downy bed – a happy body, drifting into dreams. Going bananas at the Lab The offer to share dance skills came at a dance

Poetry meets music and dance 2017/11/12 Lisbon

After a few days of catching up on chores, I took a stroll and lost myself in the laneways south of Graca. I emerged at the Mirador of Portos do Sol about 12 noon. It's a large, public, paved area, with views over the city to the ocean-blue estuary. There was a crowd: a TV crew shooting a talking head segment, buskers, a few African hawkers selling jewellery to tourists. The buskers were a 3-piece band … drums, strings and vocals, playing reggae in the sunshine. I started grooving and danced solo for a few tunes – the sea breeze and the distant, sparkling waves danced with me.   I noticed a woman quietly appreciating the music and enquired if she was also a visitor in Lisbon. I learned that Liz was from Cuba, today exploring Lisbon for the first time. She had flown to Lisbon from Angola one day before, on her way to start a new life in Madrid. It was easy for us to chat because she is fluent in Spanish as well as Portuguese, so I invited her to join me for lunch.  The band we