By Ginanne Brownell | NEWSWEEK

Published Feb 18, 2010

From the magazine issue dated Mar 1, 2010

I’ve never been much of a dancer. I took ballet and tap classes for years as a child but never managed to graduate to pointe shoes or the high-heeled tap shoes the cool, older girls wore. Since then, the dancer in me lay dormant—until a recent trip to Spain, where I saw a flamenco dancer whiz across the floor with poise and precision. It reawakened my inner ballerina, and I started fantasizing about all the opportunities I had missed to trip the light fantastic. So I decided to see if age has made me more graceful; this summer I plan to visit Spain and take flamenco classes in the very place the dance originated. No matter where you live, it’s easy to find dance classes of every variety—thanks in part to the popularity of shows like Strictly Come Dancing and So You Think You Can Dance. But I intend to try one of the growing number of high-end companies that offer a more authentic experience, providing total immersion in the culture associated with the dance. Read more


By Ginanne Brownell
LONDON, United Kingdom — Compared to the 1988 Viennese premiere of Thomas Bernhard’s “Heldenplatz,” the opening of the play last week at London’s Arcola Theatre was a muted affair. There was both intense applause and intense conversation afterward, but no police presence, no protesters, nor any politicians calling for the play to be banned. Read more


I was 8 years old when I hosted my first dinner party. I invited my best friend, Caryn, and her sister over for dinner (on a school night, even!), and my mom and I slaved away making chili and homemade brownies. In the end it was not so much about the food—we had to order in pizza because the chili turned out to be too spicy for our childish palates—but more about the thrill of having people over. I still love a rousing dinner party, and so I was intrigued to learn about a trend making the rounds from London to Lima: underground supper clubs. These clubs—some call them guerrilla restaurants—usually meet in people’s homes, where cooking enthusiasts prepare and serve dinner to strangers in exchange for a small monetary contribution toward the meal. In Cuba, these meals are called paladares and have been a cottage industry for decades. In the United States they’ve become popular over the past few years, with clubs like California’s Ghetto Gourmet—started by foodie Jeremy Townsend—spawning chapters in New York and Chicago after he took it on tour around the country. This summer the trend has taken off like viral wildfire across Europe; Caterer and Hotelkeeper magazine recently dubbed these places “21st-century speakeasies with foie gras instead of bootleg brandy.” Read more