Friday, January 25, 2008

Back in Black...sburg

When I was doing research for my book Blame it on the Rain, which recounts how weather impacted the course of history, I came across many studies linking weather with human emotion. When it is sunny, pleasant and springlike we just feel better. If it is uncomfortably hot we get irritable, and grey, overcast skies and a constant lack of sunshine can make us sluggish and depressed.

We began to test this hypothesis as we arrived in Blacksburg, Virginia for a master class at the Center of Dance. This was our third trip to the little studio with great energy. Its sunflower mural on the wall captures how we feel about the place because when we travel in winter, it is here in Blacksburg that the heavy coats start to come off, and the road salt on the car starts to look unusual.

We arrived in Blacksburg via a route we've never taken before. Basically we go wherever Mapquest tells us. This time it routed us through Ironto, a village hidden away on the side of a mountain. I have noticed that most of the time we seem to reserve our scenic routes for nighttime, when they're obscured in darkness. The little stretch of road to Blacksburg was a notable exception. The long and winding road that led to Carol Crawford Smith's door had us at our full attention as we snaked around tiny houses, exposed rocks and meandering rivers.

Valery enjoys returning to favorite studios where he sees familiar faces and can continue his instruction with friends.