Montreal - dancing, shopping, freezing

In the Summer of 2003 I was contact by Elise from Ciçek Pasaj, based in Montréal. She asked me if I would like to come to teach and perform at her dance festival in February 2004 - of course I agreed!


Since this was my very first time on the American continent I decided to stay for a few extra days, and I departed on February 4th. I was a bit worried about the weather because only 2 weeks before that it had been very, very cold (like -30° Celsius) and stormy.

My first impression upon setting my foot on Canadian ground: disappointment.... Usually, when I fly 8 hours to the south or east, places look dramatically different! But this seemed to be just like home - only a bit bigger.

Elise is a clever woman - after dropping me off at the hotel she already paid me in advance so that I could go and spend all my Canadian money during the next few days!


Outside I was greeted with sunshine and "mild" -9 degrees Celsius...

My first walk around Montréal...


View from my hotel room

I woke up far too early on Friday - it must have been 5 AM. Thank you, jet lag!

But it was a lovely, sunny day. So I got up, did some preparations for my dance classes and performances. It also was a good opportunity to find out that one of the other things that are bigger in Canada than in Switzerland is breakfast.

Finally I thought it was the right time to go outside. Just to realize when I arrived in the city center at around 9 AM that the shops would be closed for another hour!
Deserted streets...
What else could I do than walk around and look at pretty houses...
I was close to the Mont Royal, a big park on a hill. Walking there felt like I was up in the Swiss mountains!
Especially with all the people who go cross country skiing here - it's a very popular sport in Montréal, I even once saw an entire school class doing it.
Then you turn around and see the big city and even the harbor - weird!



Back in town
I was really glad when the shops finally opened, my knees were freezing off!
One of the first clothing stores I went into had such great stuff that I practically bought an entire wardrobe there.

In the afternoon I taught a half-private dance class for three lovely ladies who wanted to learn American Tribal Style bellydance.

In the snow, all cars look the same...

Actually, they have a very clever system in Montréal: Once you are in the Metro, you can exit at a station that has an underground connection to a mall or big department store - so you don't need to walk through the cold.
On one day when I was in a shop, somewhere underground, I felt a bit guilty that I wasn't outside looking at some sights - but then I went up to the ground level, saw the snow storm outside and stayed in the warmth quite happily!

One thing I had to get used to is the Canadian French. I am really very fluent in French but with that accent I sometimes hardly understood what people were telling me!

Canadian hero
What do you do when you are all alone in a big city at night? You dance tango! 
I actually went to two milongas. It's a little like the famous "home away from home" - you know the music, you know the dance and the rules - they are the same wherever in the world a bunch of tango dancers get together!

The "work" part of my stay was on Saturday and sunday when I taught my workshops. These were some of my students. 

My sponsor Luise and a workshop participant who had driven 6 hours through the snow to learn from me! I feel quite honored.
I also took two classes with Aziza, such a lovely dancer and an inspiring teacher!
(That's me on the right side)

Somebody caught me on camera with a big star and bad posture...

There was also a big dance show on Saturday night in which I performed three numbers:

Bollywood Dance



Dina style choreography


Tableau: In the Coffee House (I "borrowed" the man from a student)


A last walk through Montréal on Monday before I went flying home in the evening.
By then I had spent every single Canadian dollar!
Warming up in a church
Even the stained glass windows look snowy.

During one of the days I met up with Lucie Vendittoli to conduct an interview. It was then published in their dance magazine and I even got to be the cover girl!