Saturday, March 20, 2010

March 13 & 14 - Curling :)

With the whirlwind of activities, school exams and lack of sleep, it's been hard for me to blog. But finally, I've gotten time to blog about my Vancouver 2010 Paralympic experience!

On March 13 and 14, several StudentsLive members attending the curling game at the Vancouver Paralympic Centre. I actually never knew that much about curling, but I had watched it on TV when the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games were on. I swear, TV does NOT give curling any justice what so ever. The major difference between curling live and on the TV just astound me.

First of all, I had no clue that when you watch curling live, there are actually 4 games occurring all at the same time. On March 13 , we had the honour to watch:

Korea vs. The United States of America
Great Britain vs. Canada
Sweden vs. Switzerland
Germany vs. Norway

I have to admit, it is very difficult to watch curling live because it's hard to focus on one game at a time. Sometimes you suddenly hear a roar of cheering and you have no clue what just happened because you were focusing on another game occurring on a different sheet.

Four games, going all at once!

At first , I was wondering how the curlers would sweep, as they are in a wheelchair. But once the game started, I figured out that in wheelchair curling, there are NO sweepers what so ever. Another cool fact is that when the release the stone, the wheelchair is steadied by another teammate (look at photo below).

Team Canada's Sonja Gaudet steadies Team Canada's Ina Forrest.

Wheelchair curling is actually a very new sport, as it made it's Paralympic debut in Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games. Teams consist of male and female curlers with varying impairments of the leg(s) or gait functionality.

The games on the 13th was truly intense, having Canada win 9-2 against Great Britain and a close tie with Switzerland and Sweden , with the final outcome of 7-6, giving Switzerland the win.

Jim Armstrong, looking very happy after a great victory!

On March 14th, we were able to watch:
Norway vs. Canada
Italy vs. Switzerland
The United States of America vs. Germany
Japan vs. Korea

With another 8 ends of non-stop action, it was Italy who had won a great 13-4 against Switzerland. But what I loved about that game was actually the Japan and Korean fans in the section across from us. They truly showed spirit and were defiantly fantastic supporters with their huge flags waving and the cheers in Japanese or Korean! :)

Capping the game off was Canada, coming through from the back and earning a 6-5 win against Norway. The Norwegians were fantastic, great sports and also had some cool pants , just like the Norwegian curlers in the Olympics!


All in all, I had a fantastic time at the two curling games and learned a lot :)

¸ -xoxo Lorie

Sunday, March 14, 2010

U Theatre of Taiwan : Sound of the Ocean

While the aftermath of crowds in Vancouver has slowly settled down, the Cultural Olympiad has still been running strong with a variety of amazing performances available in Vancouver. It was great to take a break from watching all the fantastic sports going on, but the able to take a breath in and enjoy the cultural aspects that the games bring to each hosting city. I was lucky enough to head out to downtown on Friday night and watch an incredible show called " U Theatre of Taiwan: Sound of the Ocean".

The show featured 15 drummers, both male drummers and female drummers. The show began dark, with the drummers slowly walking out on stage. It was quiet, peaceful and calming as they each individually sat down next the the drums. After all the drummers were on stage, with a swift movement of the lead drummer, the beats of the drum brought the theatre to life. You wouldn't believe the amount of power and passion they had. Each person played a part to the symphony of roaring sounds, like the waves of the ocean. No matter how large or small the drum was, every performer was in sync was each other, to the timing of when they raised their drumsticks to the air, to the unique jumps that they did. It definitely wowed the crowd and was a fantastic start to the show.

After the first set of drumming, the drummers then came out in simple white cloths and slowly sat down with a drum about the size of a watermelon. They were so quiet, so serene. The small "tap-tap-tap-tap" of the drums started and the lights turned blue. I had then realized that the drums were portraying the sound of rain. It started very light and then the beats got louder and faster, taking the audience into a storm and then back to the small pitter-patters of the light spring rain. I had actually closed my eyes during this set, which made it even more interesting because I actually thought it was raining :)

In the next set, large drums were brought out and the drummers were in maroon/beige cloths. This set was to show a rise of a day in the world of nature. There was a male singer who came out and had a beautiful voice. He could hold notes forever and I was just mesmerised by his singing. It was powerful, upbeat, but had a tune that you know was comforting. The drummers then sped up and also had featured several turns and jumps. What I loved about this show was that everything was in sync. From the fact of everyone was walking with the same feet, to the speed of how they drummed. Everything was in perfect unison.

The final set was amazing. The amount of power they had! As a dancer myself, I know how hard it is to perform under those hot stage lights. When the male drummers were performing, you could just see the streams of sweat on them. The female drummers were also sweating, and you could see the beads of sweat on all on their foreheads. The final set was a final celebration of nature. The show had simply amazed me. What made it so hard was that each set was about 20 minutes; meaning that the performers had to drum for 20 minutes, rapidly and passionately. After the final set, the crowd gave a standing ovation while clapping. The performers were so happy with us that they gave us another set (since it was like we were asking for an encore).

Shows like "U Theatre of Taiwan: Sound of the Ocean" are to never be missed. It is creative visionaries such as Liu Ruo-Yu (founder/artistic director) in collaberation with Huang-Chih-Chun (music director) that can create such a show that a pleasure to watch and hear.

-xoxo Lorie