Yesterday Robert and I met with a composer who writes vocal and other art music, who wants to put her dissertation music together with a ballet in next year’s Convergence.
And last night I saw a performance at Butler Ballet of five short works, including Cynthia Pratt’s RAINMAKERS and Paul Taylor’s CLOVEN KINGDOM. This was the first time in my life I’d ever sat down for an entire evening of ballet. I was blown away by it. Halfway through RAINMAKERS, I had renounced words and spoken vocabulary. I’ve never had so much visual stimulus in my life. Where have I been that I haven’t seen this yet?
I have very few words about this experience, I feel like I should be dancing about it, instead of writing, but here’s a try: the conventions are so different – the lighting so aesthetic as opposed to narrative. The transitions, which I care so much about, seem so insignificant. ‘
The permeable stage, with the wings as flimsy as air, with endless streams of dancers rushing in and out.
The use of the body. The arm is the quotation mark of the word-body – it is much less significant than I want it to be.
The foot is the face, meaning emanates from there, and the face might as well be masked.
And finally, dance got there first. Before we (theater) did.
Then I got to meet some local Indy folks from the ballet community, including a gentleman who kills his own deer (to eat) with a bow and arrow, and has a quiver made out of a coyote he also hunted himself. We sat around a fire talking about fighting hummingbirds, dance, hip replacement surgery, and poetry till morning. One of the people there was writing her first sonnets. I’m going to send her these two poems.
It was beautiful to be in their home, looking at paint samples, eating leftover Dove Valentine’s chocolates with fortunes on the inside (mine was “You will make someone melt today,” but I read it at 11:50 pm) and pretending to have a place I live somewhere in this world. But I was reminded, while touching the coyote’s fur, that I never would have met these people if I were living so stably and simply somewhere. This is part of the journey. Ballet, bittersweet, and all.
If there’s anything in the world of words that can stand up to RAINMAKERS, it’s this poem. Ballet is rhyme, I think – that’s the only compliment I have for it. The repetition of elements chimes the same way.
(Gerard Manley Hopkins)
I CAUGHT this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird,—the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!
Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!
No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.
And this link to Harryette Mullen reading THE DIM LADY., her The Dark Lady takeoff.