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The Georgia Straight

The saga of Ballet British Columbia’s internal woes has taken on the look of a soap opera in recent months. Gossip, rumour, charges, counter-charges and regular revelations by reporters have company members referring to BBC by the sobriquet, “As the Ballet Turns.” 

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Buckle captured the dread with which many balletomanes greet the Christmas ritual. But dance lovers no longer need to feel ashamed of their Nutcracker aversion since, apparently, we're not the only ones who doubt it's dance. According to an American dance historian, the bonbon is less ballet than social event.

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Holistic retreat’s soothing massages and welcoming woods make for a blissful rest – just don’t ask too many questions

Cortes Island – A dozen of us are stretched out on the floor like spokes in a wheel, inside a round cedar-log building at Hollyhock, a holistic centre on Cortes Island on the Strait of Georgia about 150 kilometres north of Vancouver. Rain drums on the skylight that crowns the seven-metre-high ceiling while Torkin Wakefield, a 40ish therapist from Colorado, leads us through a relaxation exercise.

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Blacks protested Show Boat, Asians objected to Miss Saigon, so why-oh-why haven’t the Irish started a donnybrook over Lord of the Dance? It’s certainly tacky enough to constitute a national insult.

Despite a fellow critics’ claim that PBS is running a tape-loop of Irish tapstravaganzas, I had never seen Lord of the Dance. So I was in for a rude shock on opening night at General Motors Place.

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Depending on whom you talk to, the recent Tap Dogs show (featuring half a dozen buff and beautiful Australian men) is either injecting life into a moribund art or is just a lame excuse to watch sweaty beefcake. But it might be more accurate to describe the show as rock’n’roll tap, since it has all the charms – and limitations – of the music that inspired it.

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Ever since I saw the film Kate and Leopold, any invitation to dinner-and-a-movie has taken on a sinister tone.

K&L, which is currently topping the hot videos lists, is the latest in a growing roster of "dick flicks". You know what I mean: those romantic comedies that are marketed to women as chick flicks but often seem designed to insult us. Or worse: they reflect the way some man wants women to behave. In short, they could only have been dreamed up by some dick. Or, if it’s really bad, a committee of dicks.

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Some say religion has no place in science. Proponents of theories like intelligent design are trying to negotiate a reconciliation.

On paper, the curiously named Centre for Cultural Renewal exists "to explain the importance of religions to culture and the importance of culture to religions".

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Debbie Krull knows exactly what poverty looks like: a pot of pasta infested with maggots writhing in the boiling water. "This is so gross; is it okay to say this?" asks the 31-year-old mother of two as she brushes a long strand of brown hair out of her eyes and back into her dishevelled ponytail. "When I looked at the dried pasta, I found the larvae were right in it-it was past due."

"It's not the food bank's fault," Krull adds quickly. "They do the best they can. But grocery stores donate food that is past due that they can't sell."

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This city's best-known women's shelter appears to be surprisingly devoid of drama, at least outside of the law courts. 

Vancouver Rape Relief Society's solid prewar house, nestled in a never-disclosed neighbourhood, is warm and welcoming. The floors have the glow of wood well-buffed by thousands of socks, the rooms are clean and bright, and the furniture, although simple hand-me-downs, has been carefully chosen for solidity and comfort. 

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If the phrase decorating on a budget conjures horrifying images of glue guns, marabou lampshades, and fake wood grain, you've been watching too much Trading Spaces.

The techniques shown on those guerrilla decorating shows--the ones that use ordinary objects like cardboard and seashells to inflict maximum damage on victims' homes--have given budget decorating a bad name.

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