The music is by Coldplay (“Postcards from Far Away”), and the poem is (obviously) by Rumi (excerpt from “A Thirsty Fish”):
“I don’t want learning, or dignity, or respectability.
I want this music and this dawn
and the warmth of your cheek against mine.
The grief-armies assemble,
but I’m not going with them.
This is how it always is when I finish a poem.
A great silence overcomes me,
and I wonder why I ever thought to use language.”
I have so far found with Rumi’s poetry that I tend to like certain lines but not others within a single poem, or that I react more strongly to one part than another. These lines really struck me the first time I read this poem, and they sort of stayed in the back of my head until I realized that this poem was the obvious choice for this assignment. I tried not to over-think my reaction, so this isn’t overly choreographed–I made it up by marking the steps in my dorm room kitchen and then did a single take of it where I happened to find available space. The music was added later (on recommendation from my flatmate), and I find that both its title and tone reflect the paradoxical presence of both closeness and distance in these lines of poetry. Choreographically, I pulled a little from a Kenneth MacMillan variation I learned a few summers ago for the final gesture (back of hand to opposite cheek) and a little port de bras from the Indian inspired ballet La Bayadere (not the same culture, but it has the right feeling).