Disappointed that the youtube video of it isn’t higher quality – new HiDef camera has great definition….only if you know which settings to select when transforming the format into something the Mac can handle. Arrrgh! Technology is so wonderful!
Thirteen hours of sleep on a foreign bed on Monday night, 11 hours on Tuesday. Today is Wednesday in both Riga in Pocatello – has been for an hour and a half. Emails and instructional technologies from home let us continue to pretend we are still there while learning how to be here. Jet lag lends to a virtual space/time disruption. I have always felt flying was difficult for me to process. As a young dancer, looking down over the Rockies as I sailed from Iowa to Seattle I had a melancholy as I was not experiencing the land as I moved from one location to another. Pocatello to Salt Lake City to Seattle to Amsterdam to Riga to our apartment. 26 hours of ragged sleep. Another reality. Are we really here? For five months?
Our hosts have taken pains to warn us to not be offended if the Latvians don’t smile as this is “their way”. The explanation provided that employees in shops are rather brusque as they aren’t paid well for jobs they don’t like seems to fit the situation in most American big box stores. Our brief excursions to various shops to buy essentials has proven the warnings moot. Sven, the unlikely named son of our Lativian landlady, noted that we managed to make the security guard at the grocery store laugh and joke with us by our efforts to stash a leek in a daypack. Sven noted that the reason why the residents of former Soviet states rarely smile and talk with each other is merely that it is just too damn cold to do anything but move along and try to stay warm.
This is truly a multi-lingual city; half Latvian, half Russian and pretty much most have manageable English. The existence of ancient schools, once segregated along gender-lines by a major thoroughfare but now segregated by Latvian or Russian language supports my sense that, for many, to learn English in order to be able to communicate with the “others” seems less of an onus – there are some strong feelings here that won’t disappear after a few decades of independence. However, with shops filled with products labeled in Latvian or English, perhaps the Market will make Russian less present in a generation or two.
The Idaho students working on the Collaborative Choreography in Digital Space project appear to be merrily engaged in trying to figure out how they can negotiate the technology – and the occasional sabot thrown in the works by one doesn’t share as a matter of principal. I’ve just briefly scanned the first assignments submitted by my online courses in Management and Production and World Dance/Local Identity – they give me reason for hope that this will be a good semester. I’ve been provided a schedule for teaching Improvisation followed by two levels of Contemporary Technique on Thursdays at the Latvian College of Culture. In a little more than an hour Jo and I will be picked up by Krzysztof to attend a meeting at the Latvian Academy of Culture to discuss our residencies. I admit some anxiety as to how I will be able to teach the World Dance class to both the Latvian and Idahoan students on the same platform. PZ