October 15, 2017

The Theatre du Champs-Elysées: Nijinsky

Scene from Nijinksy, representing The Afternoon of a Faun

There was a standing ovation for the ballet Nijinsky, an exciting début to this season’s impressive lineup of symphonies and dance performances at theThéâtre des Champs-Elysées, The ballet follows the iconic early 20th century dancer's rise as the muse and lover of Sergei Diaghilev of the Ballets Russes, to his eventual tragic descent into mental illness.

The Théatre des Champs Elysées hosted the Ballets Russes for its first season in 1913, staging the première of the Rite of Spring, with avant garde movements and music that shocked the Paris audience. The jeers and catcalls were so deafening Nijinsky stood on a stool in the wings shouting to the dancers to carry on and counting the beat as Stravinsky hung onto his coat. There was an allusion to this historic scene at the very same theater just over a century later with the performance by the Ballet National du Canada of Nijinsky, a piece created by American choreographer John Neumeier in 2000.

September 9, 2017

WICE Open House Coming Soon! Be There...

Calling all WICE members and wannabes…
We’re taking a running start to Rentrée 2017 with a new venue for our Open House, Tuesday, 19 September, 3 to 7 PM, at the Gare de Marlon Gallery (in the 4th, metro Pont Marie).  

Quit the rat race and join the top non-profit English-speaking cultural and social group in Paris!

WICE members, by RAYE
Come along with friends, family, and colleagues and get half off our bargain 50 euro membership when you sign up for a class or event!  Sip a glass of wine and connect with like-minded people, new and old members, and our many volunteers and instructors.  

You could be the lucky one to walk away with prizes including tickets for the Lost in Frenchlation cinema, the Théatre des Champs Elysées, and Improfessionals; classes with Studio15 Pilates; vouchers with the concierge service Savoir Faire Paris; and offers from WH Smith.  Register now at www.wice-paris/openhouse to be eligible for the lucky draw! 

Don’t forget — many cultural venues offer WICE members discounts year-round.

July 7, 2017

THE WICE BILINGUAL BOOK GROUP: BETTER THAN EVER

Dear Readers. Consider the attractions of a free monthly book club for WICE members, from all over the world, with the occasional appearance of some of the authors at the meetings!  
You can avail of this and many other WICE activities by joining up for half-price at our next Open House at a great new venue (only 25 euros!), 28 rue du Pont Louis Phillipe in the 4e, 19 September 2017 – put that in your agenda!
Catherine Field
The Bilingual Book Group has enjoyed a major makeover this past year with international journalist Catherine Field, from New Zealand, and Canadian photographer Tracey Bennewies taking charge.  They revamped the Books Group’s webpage and got their own email address.  Regular attendance doubled to its current limit of 10 people, with a second group possible as demand warrants.  Another innovation?  They brought in coffee and tea to make the meetings more convivial.
Tracey Bennewies
“It’s amazing that something as simple as bringing in hot drinks would change the atmosphere so much,” says Catherine Field, who appreciates most the cosmopolitan nature of the club.  “We have people from the US., India, Ireland and France, some with expat and military experiences in Algeria or Beirut.  The different international perspectives make this book club very special.”
Here’s how it works: books on the reading list must be published in English and in French, and members read the monthly book and discuss it in their preferred language, under the guidance of a team of moderators. Members suggest books for the reading list, which is devised at the start of the year. Catherine worked incredibly hard vetting the books reading about 40 to see if they were the best 10 for the club, with help from partner Tracey who Catherine describes as “a real bookworm.”  

June 6, 2017

A WICE Writing Teacher Wins Another International Prize

Jamaican author and journalist Alecia McKenzie has just won a second prize for her first novel, after Commonwealth accolades for her short stories. 
Sweetheart (Trésor in French) has been awarded the 2017 Prix Carbet des Lycéens. It’s a literary competition, judged by French-Caribbean high school students, to highlight the best writing by authors from the entire Caribbean region.
“I was moved and honored that the book was chosen by students, although I’d previously considered it a work for the over-16s,” says Alecia.  “It touches on heavy themes including death and incest which require a certain maturity.  It’s about a Jamaican artist who dies in unclear circumstances, and the reader learns about her life from people who knew her, and who talk about her.”
Through the different narratives, readers learn, among other things, about the life of the artist’s Jewish grandfather. Jamaican-Jewish?  “Yes, there’s a sizable community of people whose ancestors were Jewish in Jamaica. My primary school was near one of the oldest synagogues in the region.”
On the importance of the setting, Alecia says: “This is an essential element of storytelling.  If I didn’t tell the truth about the setting, I would feel I were betraying readers, my country.  How can you write about a place if you don’t know the setting?  It has to be authentic. I try to put that across when teaching my students short-story writing at WICE”