La La La Human Steps in the Bathtub

Photograph — Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

In these blogs I have often stated that writing, photography and prostitution are the last of the self-taught professions.

In the 19th century wealthy English men (and a few women) pioneered the idea that it was low class to work for pay. So they invented the term, defining themselves, as amateur gardener/botanists or archaeologists. The idea is that they did this for the love of doing it and not for money. In this 21st century that term has been replaced by the one of plight and which is a prefix. So we have the starving artist. Those who do not starve, and may be pretty good, then dabble at the arts.

I am no amateur photographer simply because I may have charged a penny or a bit more for a photograph. If you sell you are not an amateur even if you love what you do.

It was in December 1995 that I embarked on something that became a passion for me. This was a love for dance.

Previous to 1995, when Rosemary, my two daughters and I arrived to Vancouver from Mexico City, we made sure we gave them all the opportunities this province provided. They went to French Immersion schools in Coquitlan, had swimming classes at the CG Brown Pool in Burnaby, and studied dance/ballet at the Vancouver School of Music. Our eldest daughter Ale also studied classical guitar. She did not give it up and the knowledge of reading music gives her the opportunity to accompany on the piano school performances in Lilloet where she teaches and lives.

I must state that I put them in ballet not because I was inherently interested in the art but that I thought it was what one was supposed to do as a parent.

In 1986 when we moved to our corner home and garden in Kerrisdale, a Vancouver neighbourhood my Rosemary and I became amateur gardeners (in the English tradition. She is a Master Gardener and both of us are card-carrying members of the Vancouver Rose Society and the American Hosta Society). We became so at first because of economic necessity. We could not afford to pay the Japanese neighbourhood gardener.

In 1995 I had to accompany the Canadian ballerina Evelyn Hart for a couple of days with Georgia Straight dance critic Shannon Rupp. It was then when It was impossible for me not to fall in love with a woman who represented (and represents) the Platonic Essence of Dance, Elegance and Grace.

Suddenly after watching her dance it came to me what a fool I had been when I had taken many years before our daughters to see the AlvinAiley Dance Company and watch one of their signature numbers involving white clothing and white parasols.

Since 1995 and thanks to many further dance assignments from the Georgia Straight I became what I believe I am now, an amateur dance critic. If not exactly that I believe I know when I see good dance; I can tell when a young dancer has the promise of being a great one, and not quite best of all (it is a negative talent of sorts) , I can differentiate outstanding dance from run-of-the-mill dance.

It hit me like it did Archimedes when I was soaking in the tub that there was one dance company that I had not seen for many years (they dissolved in 2015) called La La La Human Steps, that was the single most original dance company in my memory. I was so overcome that I called former Vancouver Sun critic Max Wyman who agreed with me and told me that the founder and choreographer of La La La Human Steps Édouard Lock was a good friend.

I saw this group three times and I was close to the front row. The dancers danced with phenomenal speed as if they had amphetamines in their blood stream. Women lifted men with what seemed to be ease. I left the three performances physically and visually exhausted.

In those years since I met Evelyn Hart (my eldest granddaughter Rebecca and I would go to her dressing room after performance and Rebecca would give her Junior Mints in an effort to help Hart gain weight) I have come to notice and appreciate stellar dancers. These have been SandrineCassini, Lauri Stallings, Shay Kuebler, Emily Molnar, Wen Wei Wang, Crystal Pite, and many dancers from the Arts Umbrella Dance company, especially Albert Galindo and Béatrice Larrivée.

Because we live in this 21st century where some stuff is really better than stuff from the other I can place here a couple of YouTube links to La La La Human Steps and in particular one with David Bowie that is superb.

Watch them and ignore the fact that I may not be an amateur at all and far from it.

La La La Human Steps with David Bowie & Louise Lecavalier
La La La Human Steps with Louise Lecavalier
La La La Human Steps Amelia
La La La Human Steps is no more with Édouard Lock

Link to: La La La Human Steps in the Bathtub



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Into Bunny Watson. I am a Vancouver-based magazine photographer/writer. I have a popular daily blog which can be found at: