Hadani Ditmars
Hadani Ditmars is the author of Dancing in the No Fly Zone: a Woman’s Journey Through Iraq and the Vancouver Wallpaper City Guide.

A former editor at New Internationalist, her cultural and political commentaries have been published in the Guardian, the New York Times and Vogue and broadcast on the CBC and BBC.

Hadani’s next book Ancient Heart is a political travelogue of ancient sites in Iraq.


Entries by Hadani Ditmars

Music Soothes The Savage Sound Bite

(0) Comments | Posted February 7, 2017 | 6:57 AM

Can music still soothe the savage sound bite?

That was my quest this last fortnight, as I sought solace from non-stop Trumpapocalypse onslaught on "social" (why do they call it that when it's so decidedly anti-social?) and more traditional media.

As campuses were burned, mosques attacked, and civilized sensibilities assaulted,...

Read Post

Breaking The Spell: From Hansel And Gretel To Hofer And Trump

(0) Comments | Posted December 7, 2016 | 11:27 AM

The morning after watching Vancouver Opera's production of Hansel and Gretel , I awoke to news that Austria's far-right leader Norbert Hofer lost to left leaning liberal Alexander Van der Bellen.

I learned of the political sea change via the Facebook feed of an Iraqi refugee...

Read Post

Singing Leonard Cohen Songs Keeps The Darkness At Bay

(0) Comments | Posted November 17, 2016 | 7:11 AM

As a teenager growing up in Vancouver in the 70's, I was always enamoured of a tale my mother told that, if fate had dictated, could have made me Leonard Cohen's love child.

It was 1966 and he was a young poet on tour. She was a 22-year-old half-Lebanese beauty,...

Read Post

Cultural Remedies For Vancouver: A City Without Duende

(1) Comments | Posted October 26, 2016 | 9:59 AM

Is Vancouver a city without duende?

For those unfamiliar with the term, a creative force evoked in the art of flamenco, I defer to Garcia Lorca -- the poet killed by right-wing Spanish civil war era assassins whose work seems ever more resonant in our time of vulgar demagogues and...

Read Post

Party Like It's 1799 At Vancouver's Bach Festival

(0) Comments | Posted August 12, 2016 | 12:21 PM

The 18th century was a dangerous time to dance.

I learned this along with other invaluable life lessons, at Early Music Vancouver's inaugural Bach Festival, now in its final glorious week.


During a special workshop on Baroque dance taught by Montreal...

Read Post

Love In A Time Of Terror

(0) Comments | Posted June 24, 2016 | 4:45 PM

The Western world was not a safe place recently. At least not on most major news channels.

The familiar became menacing: dancing at a nightclub with friends, deadly; a member of Parliament killed on the steps of a public library; even Disneyworld turned terrifying with a child-abducting alligator.

It was...

Read Post

Oh What A Circus: An American Version Of Evita

(0) Comments | Posted May 16, 2016 | 11:58 AM

With the strains of Don't Cry for Me Argentina still fresh in my mind from Vancouver Opera's production of Evita, I am re-imagining the seminal 70's rock opera with a whole new American cast.

Since Evita is really a morality play about unbridled political ambition and...

Read Post

Butterfly In Baghdad And Other U.S. Dramas: A Night At The Pre-Election Opera

(0) Comments | Posted March 10, 2016 | 3:12 PM

One of the most exquisite moments in Vancouver Opera's Madame Butterfly is the Second Act scene where the giddy heroine covers her home in cherry blossoms in anticipation of Pinkerton's return, only to discover his betrayal.


Its emotional resonance...

Read Post

Stephen Harper and the Death of Canadian Culture

(14) Comments | Posted October 9, 2015 | 5:27 PM

Opening night of Vancouver Opera's Rigoletto was supposed to be a brief mental respite from the relentless electioneering of a nation mere weeks away from a momentous decision.

But the whole experience proved more resonant than one might expect.

With Vancouver Opera itself in sticky financial circumstances --...

Read Post

A Night at the Opera with Harper: Die Fledermaus and Masked Avengers

(0) Comments | Posted March 6, 2015 | 3:12 PM


I wonder if any judge in late 19th-century Vienna ever asked a woman to remove her mask? And what exactly is Prime Minister Harper's position on masked balls, those dens of iniquity where identities are disguised and potential terror...

Read Post

Seduction and Abandonment: Don Giovanni As a Model for U.S. Foreign Policy

(0) Comments | Posted March 4, 2014 | 10:54 AM

As I took in the opening night of Vancouver Opera's Don Giovanni on the weekend, I realized there was something vaguely familiar about the libertine protagonist.

The unrepentant sociopath whose conquests number in the thousands and who remains indifferent to the pain and suffering he's caused, didn't just...

Read Post

Take This Waltz for 2014 and Make the NSA Learn to Dance

(0) Comments | Posted January 6, 2014 | 5:06 PM

My suggested New Year's resolution for 2014? Let's spend less time spying on each other and more time waltzing.

I came to this profound conclusion at the annual Salute to Vienna - a pure unadulterated celebration of schmaltz- where the waltz is elevated to true cult status, and...

Read Post

We are All Albert Herring

(0) Comments | Posted December 6, 2013 | 3:33 PM

In this centenary year of composer Benjamin Britten, I recall my first exposure to his complex, beautiful and technically challenging music.

I was a 13-year-old alto - taller and darker than almost everyone in the rather waspy West Vancouver high school choir- given the somewhat daunting task of singing the...

Read Post

Who Said Vancouver Was Drama-Free? Tosca Proves the Opposite

(0) Comments | Posted October 31, 2013 | 8:02 AM

Vancouver Opera's Tosca is a true celebration of life.

Despite the unhappy ending that all opera lovers know, there is such unbridled passion, joy and humour -- not to mention some really fabulous costumes -- in this Joseph McClain directed production, that on opening night the fate of...

Read Post

Bulletins From Immortality: Freeing Emily Dickinson

(0) Comments | Posted October 25, 2013 | 4:39 PM

The body of Margie Gillis is an interpretive canvas. Emotions spill out like colours as she quivers through her dance, alive with joy and sorrow, pain and power, imbued with the full palette of life.

She makes her art look so natural, as if she were a woman simply dancing...

Read Post

Love in the Time of Ephemera - a Singleton's Conversation with God

(0) Comments | Posted September 9, 2013 | 11:50 AM

Scene I -- late at night on a laptop near you...a 40 something woman is typing...

OK God, (or Facebook, or the NSA, or same thing maybe?) OK, so here's the thing... I think I've really "done" the whole poverty, chastity and obedience (well...) thing...and basically I'd like the next...

Read Post

Foster Eastman's Great Leap Forward: The Cultural Revolution Revisited

(1) Comments | Posted August 14, 2013 | 5:56 PM

Foster Eastman was born in the year of the Great Leap Forward.

1958 was the beginning of the economic and social campaign by the Communist Party of China that aimed to transform a largely agrarian economy into a communist society through rapid industrialization and collectivization. The campaign led...

Read Post

Oh Canada: A Fabulist's Guide to Patriotic Dating

(0) Comments | Posted July 12, 2013 | 11:58 AM

This is a story that begins at an absinthe tasting, and ends with bad hippy dancing, halfhearted fireworks and an absent national anthem.

It is not for the faint of heart and contains many middle-aged references.

It all transpired over the Canada Day weekend in our nation's third largest...

Read Post

Tea - a Mirror of the Soul Speaks to Vancouver's Spiritual Possibilities

(0) Comments | Posted May 14, 2013 | 2:20 PM

For a city by the sea -- a port town that enthusiastically believes in its own "world-class" status -- Vancouver is a shockingly segregated place, a study in emphatic delineations.

Despite half its population being Asian, its neighbourhoods remain suburban enclaves as opposed to metropolitan melting pots.

And local...

Read Post

Will Millennials Ever Love the Waltz?

(2) Comments | Posted January 4, 2013 | 4:12 PM

Since the world didn't end on Dec. 21, I found myself once again taking in the annual Salute to Vienna New Year's concert at Vancouver's Orpheum Theatre.

As I waltzed into 2013 with an audience composed mainly of those born in earlier, pre-digital, mobile phone and reality TV...

Read Post