Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Dance

The film Heaven's Gate will always stay in my memory for its wonderful dance sequences. Spectacular, exubrant, joyful; not many films have brought sequences of such joyful abandon.


I remember getting the same sense of exhilaration from the dance scene in Brian Friel's play "Dancing at Lughnasa".That brief explosion of exubrance that serves to highlight the degree to which the Mundy sisters are oppressed in their normal existence (and the heights joyfulness locked away in their hearts) in rural Donegal.

What an escape those house and cross road dances must have been in the hard times of 18th and 19th century Ireland. It's unlikely most of us can even imagine.

From Pat O'Connor's film of "Dancing at Lughnasa" (1998)

See how, like lightest waves at play, the airy dancers fleet;
And scarcely feels the floor the wings of those harmonious feet.
Ob, are they flying shadows from their native forms set free?
Or phantoms in the fairy ring that summer moonbeams see?
As, by the gentle zephyr blown, some light mist flees in air,
As skiffs that skim adown the tide, when silver waves are fair,
So sports the docile footstep to the heave of that sweet measure,
As music wafts the form aloft at its melodious pleasure,

from The Dance by Friedrich von Schiller

No comments: