Washington, D.C. never ceases to amaze me

(Photo credit: Washington Ballet performing the Great Gatsby, by Dayna Smith for the Washington Post)

What happens when you push a scientist outside the realms of science?

Well, if that scientist is me, and the outside realm is Washington, D.C., then National Zoo and Natural History museum (and events like the Forensic Fridays or Human Origin Topics) are off limits, and Art & History are in!

The Anglo-Saxon hoard

The National Geographic museum is hosting the Lost Gold of the Dark Ages: the mistery of the anglo-saxon hoard exhibit. I first came across this story on the October edition of National Geographic, after reading the article by Caroline Alexander.  Turns out she is also the author of one of my favorite historical nonfiction books, The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition, and it tells the tale of one antarctic expedition from the early 1900’s. Ms Alexander’s narrative of a ship trapped in ice is so compelling it transports the reader to the south pole, where man, ponies and dogs on ice were forced to subsist on penguin and seal meat, among other adversities…

But I digress. The Anglo-Saxon hoard is a treasure found in a farm in Stafordshire. It contains pieces believed to be part of sword hilts, helmets and other war gear, mostly made with gold and decorated with garnet. I’ve seen the pictures online and on the magazine, but nothing prepared me for the real thing. No photography was allowed inside the exhibit, so you will have to trust me on this one: seen live, the pieces are a way more intricate and exquisite. Precise tangles of gold depict animals, celt knots, and warrior scenes, suposed to confer a religious or magical quality to the weapons. The level of craftsmanship is unbelievable. Archeology is not in my field of expertise, so instead of saying more, I recommend reading the Nat Geo article.

(Photo credit: Rob Clark for National Geographic)

The Washington Ballet performs The Great Gatsby

After history, it was time for the Arts.

Husband and I went to the Kennedy center to see the Washington Ballet perform the Great Gatsby. The photo above is from the Washington Post, whose review called the performance “disjointed”. I, in the other hand, loved everything about it. For someone constantly in the hunt for modern depictions of Ballet, The Great Gatsby did not disappoint. After watching one thousand performances of the Nutcracker or Cinderella, it is refreshing to find a show on a new theme. The company danced to jazz compositions that gave each character their  own “soundtrack”. The choreography, my favorite part of this production,  was so original it makes the audience forget that this still is, after all, classic ballet.


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