It is 2014…I am back in South Africa with my family. We arrived around 10pm last night but given Sunday evening airport staffing didn’t get to Thulani Lodge until nearly midnight. It’s the end of winter here and from my bedroom window the grounds I usually think of as pretty lush and green have that early spring slightly bedraggled look.

It feels so strange to be here without dance, dance friends, dance performances to anticipate. The last time I was here, fall 2012, I saw some of the best dance pieces of my presenting career, all my favorite friends were here and I became ill and depressed and knew it was the appropriate end of ‘dance time’ for me. It was, needless to say, the oddest of Joburg sojourns in many ways because I knew the loveliest passage of my life was over—by my choice—at the right time—never to be revisited. Sad happy relieved sentimental.

So now two years have gone by. Global DanceFest is a shiny memory, more glowing than the reality of it, but isn’t that always the way…. And I have always known the decision was right and, in fact, have felt very little nostalgia. UNTIL THIS MOMENT. This morning at Thulani Lodge.

First time here, I think it was 2005, I came with Bernard and Jill met us here. Jill and I shared a cramped room inside, the attraction being that it was cheap. Bernard was in the big friendly cabin across the grassy lawn which is where I am at this very moment. I mostly remember coffee/lunch with Boyzie up on the main street and dinner at the restaurant by the Market Theater in all of its eclectic glory.           PHOTOS 2005




Since then so many nights and dances and lunches at Lucky Bean and trips to experience what was apartheid South Africa. SO NOW I AM VERY NOSTLGIC.

NOW IS NOW however. I wish I could make an album from all of that South African dance past, however I am here and my photos are in Albuquerque. In a little while I’ll take a few photos of my current crew of companions, non-dancers all, but quite interesting nevertheless.

Thulani Lodge looks a little older–although still its friendly cozy self–maybe Melville does as well or at least it seemed so coming in last evening. My family will probably not understand my love for this Joburg place at all because it is not possible to see it through my mind’s ‘dancing’ eye. Oh well. That was then, this is now. Time to shower, drink coffee, be a tourist.

It would be nice to close this tiny tribute to then with a profound comment of some sort. What might that be? Break a Leg?

In 2005, I went to the national museum in Pretoria with friends. Here’s a work from ‘old’ South Africa and their born-free daughter with a new friend from an adjoining exhibit.




  1. Travel memories with friends and family. I just made some more of those recently in New Mexico. How good it felt. I was not at all nostalgic for the Albuquerque I knew or the Four Seasons. Wonder what that means? perhaps it means nothing at all. It is so comforting to have lovely, warm memories.. How lucky you were to make those memories in South Africa.

  2. Very interesting and movng report which brought back fond and vivid memories as well, from the various room lodges to walking in the neighborhood with its book stores, small cafes and Western like atmosphere! What a strange coincidence also as at the same time you talked about the missing South African, I saw the company of South African choreographer Dido MASILO, dancing her own interpretation of Carmen, at Maison de La Danse at the Lyon International Dance Biennial as part of a larger tour of France…..South African dance is not gone but rather and maybe being seen more elsewhere, thanks in large part to the support pof the French government and audience!

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