Dance Beat: The Marvelous Margaret

ATWOOD MARGARETIt’s a small world. While at Chautauqua to view North Carolina Dance Theatre, I met renowned Canadian author, the marvelous Margaret Atwood. Topped by a halo of gray curls, she is blessed with a radiant skin and a knowing clarity in her eyes.

No wonder she has won so many awards — the Man Booker Prize for Fiction, the Prince of Asurias award for Literature and the Arthur C. Clarke Award for The Handmaid’s Tale, among them. And the last turned out to be a new discovery.

Her book, written in 1985, is a futuristic novel that has been called both science fiction and speculative fiction, where a totalitarian Christian theocracy overthrows the United States government and subjugates women.

Just a little research peaked my interest. The result: it seemed that Handmaid’s Tale still retains its relevance today. So, despite being a latecomer, I bought her book. As it turns out, Handmaid’s Tale is being made into a ballet. Canadian, of course. But former Paul Taylor dancer Lila York, considered one of handmaid_largethe most successful choreographic alumnae of the company, has pursued this ballet for eight years.

It will finally be completed Oct. 16-20 at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in Manitoba.  And if that is ringing a bell, consider that Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre has produced two ballets by Jordan Morris, yes, of RWB (Peter Pan and Moulin Rouge – The Ballet).

It certainly is a small world and one that I will embrace. More on Margaret (and Handmaid’s Tale) later.

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