Saturday, May 14, 2016

My Love is Like...

Photo credit: Eric Frahm
When Dear Husband and I toured Central Europe with The Chorale in the summer of 2012, I created a dance to Eliza Gilkeyson's haunting piece "Requiem." You can read my post about that experience here. I reprised the role back home on the group's fall concert. Now, with DH and I leaving town, the maestra asked if I would perform it with the group again. Unfortunately, no one had a video recording from four years ago, and I was not yet in the habit of writing down my choreography. So I put off her request until I knew that DH would be at a stable place in his chemotherapy cycle, when I would have the emotional energy to devote to re-choreographing the dance, and he could serve as my rehearsal pianist. (Otherwise I would have had to run back and forth to my laptop, clicking on a YouTube video.)

I remembered most of the opening: the mourner processes down the aisle during the introduction, then opens her arms in a series of welcoming gestures, as the choir calls on "Mother Mary." Head covered in a scarf, I was pleased with the effect as of a wall of water as I rushed forward and backward, imitating the waves of the sea that had stolen the homes and loved ones of the singer-narrators. Then I added a sort of King Dancer Pose (a side scale holding the raised foot in one hand) that seemed to possess static beauty. (It's not a song that lends itself to leaps and jumps, and increasingly my knees punish me for including any in my dances.) The rest of the moves I more or less created from scratch. I recalled that one of my favorite sequences from the original involved what I imagined as "falling leaves," as I brought each swirling hand down from above head. I couldn't remember how I had gotten them up there in the first place, so this time I decided to use the motion in reverse, ending in raised "prayer hands," which was the central motif of the dance. I used the scarf to good effect, and of course dancing in a long flowing skirt added movement and beauty. DH and I had plenty of rehearsal time, and I was pleased with how the performance turned out. I also took the time to type up the choreography, in case there is a "next time."

Photo credit: Eric Frahm
Because it was Dear Husband's last concert with The Chorale, there was a special presentation (above). There were lots of teary eyes then and during some of the more plaintive or earnest pieces in the second half. DH even surprised me by dedicating the choir's performance of "O, My Love Is Like A Red, Red Rose," based on Robert Burns' 1794 poem of the same name (below), which he reportedly heard a Scottish lass sing. Rene Clausen wrote the tune for his wife for Valentine's Day.

O my Luve's like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve's like the melodie
That’s sweetly play'd in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I:
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry:

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only Luve
And fare thee weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.

Between visiting me at college in St. Louis; moving from Baltimore to Illinois to Pittsburgh; and coming to see me during my research year in Germany, I am quite sure DH has gone "ten thousand mile" to demonstrate his love for me. This was his dedication: "You are an amazing woman who is the embodiment of the pledge 'in sickness and in health.' I and all your future patients are lucky to have you in my life." I guess we deserve each other, then.

::gavel bangs::

Thus ends this meeting of the Mutual Appreciation Society!


  1. The dance includes a framing of your face with your hands that is an emotional high point... Many thanks.

    1. Yes, that is what comes immediately after the moment Eric captured above. And thank you. I hesitated to recommit to doing the dance again, but I am really glad that Michael encouraged me to do so.


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