Dancers at the Edge of Spacetime – Stepping Outside of the Frame

Dancers at the Edge of Spacetime 1 Stepping out of the Frame

 

THE LONELY DANCER

(1913)

by Richard Le Gallienne

I had no heart to join the dance,

I danced it all so long ago—

Ah! light-winged music out of France,

Let other feet glide to and fro,

Weaving new patterns of romance

For bosoms of new-fallen snow.

 

But leave me thus where I may hear

The leafy rustle of the waltz,

The shell-like murmur in my ear,

The silken whisper fairy-false

Of unseen rainbows circling near,

And the glad shuddering of the walls.

 

Another dance the dancers spin,

A shadow-dance of mystic pain,

And other partners enter in

And dance within my lonely brain—

The swaying woodland shod in green,

The ghostly dancers of the rain;

 

 

Dancers at the Edge of Spacetime 2 Stepping out of the Frame

The lonely dancers of the sea,

Foam-footed on the sandy bar,

The wizard dance of wind and tree,

The eddying dance of stream and star;

Yea, all these dancers tread for me

A measure mournful and bizarre:

 

An echo-dance where ear is eye,

And sound evokes the shapes of things,

Where out of silence and a sigh

The sad world like a picture springs,

As, when some secret bird sweeps by,

We see it in the sound of wings.

 

Those human feet upon the floor,

That eager pulse of rhythmic breath,—

How sadly to an unknown shore

Each silver footfall hurryeth;

A dance of autumn leaves, no more,

On the fantastic wind of death.

 

Fire clasped to elemental fire,

‘Tis thus the solar atom whirls;

The butterfly in aery gyre,

On autumn mornings, swarms and swirls,

In dance of delicate desire,

No other than these boys and girls.

 

Dancers at the Edge of Spacetime 3 Stepping out of the Frame

The same strange music everywhere,

The woven paces just the same,

Dancing from out the viewless air

Into the void from whence they came;

Ah! but they make a gallant flare

Against the dark, each little flame!

 

And what if all the meaning lies

Just in the music, not in those

Who dance thus with transfigured eyes,

Holding in vain each other close;

Only the music never dies,

The dance goes on,—the dancer goes.

 

Dancers at the Edge of Spacetime 4 Stepping out of the Frame

 

A woman dancing, or a world

Poised on one crystal foot afar,

In shining gulfs of silence whirled,

Like notes of the strange music are;

Small shape against another curled,

Or dancing dust that makes a star.

 

To him who plays the violin

All one it is who joins the reel,

Drops from the dance, or enters in;

So that the never-ending wheel.

Cease not its mystic course to spin,

For weal or woe, for woe or weal.

 

As Fred and Ginger step out of the frame, new connections are established. The young woman who appears in the last two images in this post is the American actress Eva Le Gallienne (1899–1991) Richard Le Galliene’s daughter, by his second marriage.  Le Galliene published  The Lonely Dancer and Other Poems  in 1913. The poem seems to be a metaphor for our relationship to Spacetime  . Perhaps his poetic vision allowed him some insight into his daughter’s future theatrical career  and legacy. Eva founded the Civic Repertory Theater, in which she was both director, producer, and lead actress. Noted for her boldness and idealism, she became a pioneering figure in the American Repertory Movement, which enabled today’s Off-Broadway.

Eva lived a life outside the frame in many ways, including her sexual orientation. Her life extended far beyond the reality and literary works of her father.  It marks a different world from Fred and Ginger’s musical universe, as different as her role as Peter Pan.  Somehow the tango sung by Whispering Jack Smith,  crosses the lines of time and place bringing all together, through memory, longing, metaphor and irony.

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9 thoughts on “Dancers at the Edge of Spacetime – Stepping Outside of the Frame

  1. I remember playing songs like those of Whispering Jack on my great grandparents gramophone when I was a very young child. I can see the progression of your ideas more clearly through this post. I particularly loved the poem.

    1. Many thanks Katherine. As you can see our context of Mass Media content creates a personal Spacetime that builds and shapes the intended message with our emotional connections and knowledge. How you remember this post is linked to your memories of your grandparents. My associations with this post, now include your recollections and thoughts of my own childhood experiences. 🙂

    1. Many thanks Derrick. The last post in the sequence is now published. A lot of cultural history, has now been interwoven in these posts, metaphorical Spacetime has been definitely bent. 😀

    1. Thanks. As time passes, the context shifts and new meanings /understanding develop. The use of lyrics in more than one language is not common in Western pop music these days, yet with the internet spreading and connecting cultures, there are areas of the world where multilingual songs are becoming the norm. Planet Hollywood is not homogeneous. 🙂

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