Rumi–Courtney Escoyne

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).


One thought on “Rumi–Courtney Escoyne

  1. Courtney,
    This is really beautiful. I thought your dance fit perfectly with the lines “I want this music and this dawn / and the warmth of your cheek against mine.” The end, where you touched your hand to your cheek, really brought it all together.

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