Sweedeedee & Winter Syntax

3

2

4

5

1

6

7

I try not to re-blog too many things from Behind Ballet, since I write for them, and also, since I would probably end up re-blogging everything on that blog, as I love it. But I couldn’t help myself when I saw this post. These images are from Tim Harbour’s new work, Sweedeedee. As described on The Australian Ballet blog:

Long-time fans of The Australian Ballet will be thrilled to welcome Steven Heathcote and Justine Summers back to the stage, and to meet Mia Heathcote, Steven’s daughter, and Lennox Niven, who play their children in this family piece. Set to intimate folk music, performed live by musicians led by Dancing with the Stars’ Chong Lim, Sweedeedee is both playful and poignant, and will provide a powerful ending to our Let’s Dance program.

I couldn’t stop looking at these images when I first saw them, because they immediately brought to my mind this poem by Billy Collins:

Winter Syntax

A sentence starts out like a lone traveler
heading into a blizzard at midnight,
tilting into the wind, one arm shielding his face,
the tails of his thin coat flapping behind him.

There are easier ways of making sense,
the connoisseurship of gesture, for example.
You hold a girl's face in your hands like a vase.
You lift a gun from the glove compartment
and toss it out the window into the desert heat.
These cool moments are blazing with silence.

The full moon makes sense. When a cloud crosses it
it becomes as eloquent as a bicycle leaning
outside a drugstore or a dog who sleeps all afternoon
in a corner of the couch.

Bare branches in winter are a form of writing.
The unclothed body is autobiography.
Every lake is a vowel, every island a noun.

But the traveler persists in his misery,
struggling all night through the deepening snow,
leaving a faint alphabet of bootprints
on the white hills and the white floors of valleys,
a message for field mice and passing crows.

At dawn he will spot the vine of smoke
rising from your chimney, and when he stands
before you shivering, draped in sparkling frost,
a smile will appear in the beard of icicles,
and the man will express a complete thought.

I thought of the “blazing” silence, simplicity and wordless eloquence of the bodily gestures and movements caught in these images: a hand cupping a face, an elbow rising sharply in the air, two arms wrapping shoulders, hands pressed against the heart. As someone who works with words, I’m envious of these “easier ways of making sense”; they express things in a way that I cannot in my own battle of trying to “express a complete thought”. Or, then again, maybe I’m just romanticising another art form in my own struggle with another.

If you’d like to learn more about this ballet or the Let’s Dance program, head over to Behind Ballet.

All photography is by Lynette Wills and is used here with permission. Please do not re-blog without giving proper credit.