Nederlands Dans Theater: Lines for Winter

Recently landed: Lines for Winter, Gracia's written response to Nederlands Dans Theater's triple bill for Fjord Review

Tonight as it gets cold
tell yourself
what you know which is nothing
but the tune your bones play
as you keep going. And you will be able
for once to lie down under the small fire
of winter stars.

—Mark Strand, 'Lines for Winter' from Selected Poems (1979)

Like snow falling on exposed skin. Bare and burning. The crunch underfoot, sharp.

Open to interpretation, suggestive of so much. So much said and unsaid. Reading, not between the lines, but between the musical notes, and the body. Always, the body. For in all three pieces, from the opening of Sol Léon & Paul Lightfoot’s Sehnsucht (2009) through the snow of Crystal Pite’s Solo Echo (2012), and finally, Léon & Lightfoot’s Stop-Motion (2014), they are above all about the human vessel. How it moves, responds, feels. What it is to be human. To create in the face of opposition. To use the body as a means to begin again.

In winter, three pieces evocative of the season and its slap across the cheek. Senses, awakened. On a wild night, blown into the theatre on the heels of a strawberry moon, a salute to the long, dark nights. And a welcome return to the Melbourne stage by Nederlands Dans Theater, who last appeared here in 2011. Breath, bated.

Offered forth. Greedily accepted. My feet, thawing. The woman in the row before me, a recently discarded (faux fur) coat draped across the back of her seat like a giant black bear skin. I am reminded of the costumes we wear in anticipation of winter’s bite. And the costumes we wear, to shield ourselves, from feeling, largely. Protective layers, in every sense. A shield to isolate ourselves, more often than not, in what feels an increasingly uncharitable world where we place our own needs above others.

Nederlands Dans Theater in Crystal Pite's Solo Echo (Image credit: Rahi Rezvani)