Dance! Freedom in space
Go wild but careful not to
Step on someone’s toes
Tag Archives: expression
Toes – a haiku
Dance! Freedom in space
Filed under Poems, Essays, and Things
TEAL (NaPoWriMo #28a)
Trendy piece in confident fashion
Endless skies and sparkling coasts
Anticipation brewing under cool demeanor
Lost soul floating aimlessly in blank pondering
Intermediate, like a light switch balanced between on and off
Bold yet changing with the ebbs of time
Teal also happens to be the colour of my ballet uniform.The prompt for a colour poem was too good to resist. So now I’m two poems behind. Oh well. Maybe I will be able to post another one tonight. Congratulations to everyone who has successfully completed the NapoWriMo challenge today!
Thanks for reading,
Filed under NaPoWriMo Challenge
Romeo and Juliet Essay: Themes in ballet and play
Romeo and Juliet
The rebirth of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in Kenneth Macmillan’s ballet version of this classic love story shows how ideas are expressed differently by poetry and movement. Comparing the two pieces helps us appreciate the beauty of both art forms. Emotions can be very strongly portrayed in a ballet; the physicality and pureness of a body’s movement can present abstract ideas in a more human and touching way than in words. On the other hand, poetry engages our creativity and shows abstract ideas by transferring complex thoughts and pictures into our heads. In the ballet, a scene taking place in Juliet’s bedroom incorporates many events including what would have been Act 4 Scene 1 in the play. These scenes show the varying interpretations of this rich work and reveal the strengths of both the drama and the ballet.
Juliet’s refusal to marry Paris in what was originally Friar Lawrence’s cell is powerfully expressed in a pas de deux that portrays her emotions very clearly by using her whole body. Movement magnifies her expression; she shows rather than speaks to Paris that she will not marry him; while music and setting enhance the scene. In the script, she politely hints using double entendre to Paris that she will not marry, whereas in the pas deux she is very obviously showing her attitude towards marriage by keeping a soulless facial expression and her body rigid throughout the dance. The exact choreography is repeated from Juliet’s charming first meeting with Paris but performed with very different quality and intention, which reminds us of the change that occurred when Juliet met Romeo. Prokofiev’s beautiful music can be interpreted as a love theme, but as Juliet is unwillingly continuing the dance, the music becomes more dramatic and makes the scene more frantic. Setting this dance in Juliet’s bedroom in front of her parents also adds tension to this scene. In conclusion, this pas de deux expresses Juliet’s act of defiance and emotions in a much bigger way than words through body language.
Capulet’s anger is thoroughly expressed through words in a way that movement cannot. The scene is full of ideas which not only advances the plot; but reveals attitude and creates imagery. The vocabulary, phrasing, and punctuation that are presented by voice show his absolute rage at hearing the news:
How, how, how how, chopt-logic? What is this?
‘Proud’, and ‘I thank you’, and ‘I thank you not’,
And yet ‘not proud’, mistress minion you?
Thank me no thankings, nor proud me no prouds,
But fettle your fine joints ‘gainst Thursday next,
To go with Paris to Saint Peter’s Church,
Or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither.
Out, you green sickness carrion! Out, you baggage!
You tallow face! (3. 1. 149-157)
Lord Capulet’s mocking and insults are so flustered that his anger can look comical, which plays with the feel of the scene; however, it is clear that Juliet has a very serious problem. His reaction towards her refusal reveals the importance of marriage in the renaissance society; it was based on social status, not love. His harsh words paint grave images of Juliet on the streets or being “dragged… on a hurdle”; creating a glimpse of a possible future. Through movement, Capulet’s rage is difficult to express because his speech is effective through our own mind’s thoughts and pictures. For example, the individual words in the insults “green sickness carrion” and “tallow face” cannot be expressed in a ballet, while the idea of his disgust can. In the ballet, Lord Capulet acts coldly towards his daughter and then leaves. His act of abandonment is fast and dramatic, but does not show his thoughts and character in the way that words do.
The last farewell is expressed effectively through both movement and poetry. Both forms reflect on the passion of their love and their desperate situation while enriching each other by their strengths. Romeo and Juliet’s pas de deux is visually brilliant; dynamic lifts and beautiful steps that freely travel the stage show their young love. Again, as the music grows stronger, the choreography gets bigger; increasing the intensity of their movements and portraying a growing passion and sadness. Their conversation in the script comparing the lark and the nightingale again shows their love and reluctance to part, while also showing a playful side in their argument. Juliet insists that it is still night, so Romeo plays along, “Let me be tame, let me be put to death… I’ll say yon grey is not the morning’s eye, ‘Tis but the pale reflex of Cynthia’s brow…” (3.5. 17-20) There is imagery and slight sarcasm to his words that lightens the mood temporarily; however, his words also advance the script in a darker direction. In comparison to their balcony pas de deux in Act 2 Scene 2, this one, taking place in the bedroom, is more dramatic; which expresses their longing to stay together in the changing situation and their growth in maturity. The script also shows these changes when the mood turns urgent as Juliet realizes the time of day and later states, “Methinks I see thee now, thou art so low, as one dead in the bottom of a tomb…” (3.5.55-56) which again shows the struggle of their love and brings their sadness further into the future. Both the ballet and the script strongly express Romeo and Juliet’s passion and misfortune; and present the light and darker feelings of this scene.
In conclusion, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is expressed beautifully by both movement and poetry. They portray ideas differently; one through the body, and one through the voice; but both express this loved story like the masterpiece that it is.
Published from March 14, 2011.
Thanks for reading,
Filed under Academia, Dance, Poems, Essays, and Things
A most human art form
A painter has a canvas, a musician, an instrument, an athlete, a ball or a puck, but a dancer? Dancers have their own bodies. Living, breathing art.
Dancers have nothing to hide behind, what they do is a pure expression of themselves – just people and their movements on a stage. Their work is fleeting, it passes through time and exists in the present – a dance cannot be captured fully, just as a portrait photograph is only a fragment of a breathing, human being. Dancers expose themselves to the world, placing their very identity in a most vulnerable position under the world’s eyes. And yet they are powerful, a celebration of human strength and artistry. Maybe that is why dance strikes a chord in nearly everyone, because there is such depth and sincerity in what can be expressed through the human body.
Ah, but with the pride of a dancer comes a challenge. A body changes, a person changes, and your work along with it. Every day a new balance must be found, muscle memory joggled, flexibility and stamina renewed. One day my pointe shoes are a size 4 1/2 the next day a 5. I can feel the backs of my legs engaging to solidify my ankle alignment, and in the future I may have trouble finding the same sensation. The body is very capable of adapting to situations dancers put them through, but sometimes it needs help in concentration and discipline to reach the perfection that all dancers envision in their dreams. It is a constant journey to discover the utmost potential of our bodies and the truest artists we can possibly be to ourselves. My ballet teacher taught me that. I feel very privileged to be a part of this art form for sharing the simplest joy of expressing myself through myself, as myself, in ways that words cannot explain.
“Dance is the hidden language of the soul.” -Martha Graham
Read, dance, and don’t forget to smile,
Filed under Dance