Thursday, March 5, 2015

Two Choreographers: Nureyev & Starlingmeister

I didn't know they were there until they rose from the earth, softly, not bolting like startled quail.  The edge of the small group of maybe three hundred peeled away from the earth and folded itself into a sharp gust of the prevailing northeastern wind.  As the first line of performers rose, they passed over the main body of birds who, as a group, while maintaining perfect spacing, joined the departure.

The Starlingmeister, the first off the ground, glanced down, confirmed that all were aloft and then wheeled hard right, leading the troupe into a descending, then ascending, ninety-degree seamless turn to the south.  I saw him look over his shoulder without missing a wing beat.  Satisfied with the performance of his band, he instantly doubled his speed and smoothly changed direction, swiftly leading his company away.  I watched in awe until they disappeared from view.

The Starlingmeister and his small flock came to mind moments ago when I was drawn to this short clip of a Rudolf Nureyev choreographed company performing La Bayadere.  At risk of being labeled a traitor to my species, I couldn't stop myself from thinking that the Starlingmeister, without tenure or training, and with a ten times larger group of untested flyers, performing outside, without rehearsal, and working into a stiff wind, on a stage with an additional dimension, made the very best humans look rather amateurish.

And so it is in this world of wonder and beauty.

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