Trajectories

Happy National Poetry Month from Stance on Dance!

BY ALICE BLUMENFELD; IMAGE BY CAMILLE TAFT

I wrote the first draft of this poem in the dance studio after rehearsing some solo material for a show titled Beyond Nostalgia, which was supposed to premiere in April 2020 (postponed) at Cleveland Public Theater–it just came out after I stopped moving and sat down to take off my flamenco shoes. The show’s concept came from the following: stopped at a red-light, a few blocks from my “permanent address,” and shortly after accepting a job in a rural Ohio town, I had an intense pang of nostalgia. Although I had yet to begin packing my life into cardboard boxes, I stared at the sun striking the nearly empty intersection and I yearned not for things that used to be or things I would be leaving behind, but for versions of myself I was severing any possibility of becoming. Was there a word for this nostalgia, a nostalgia for a self or selves that never existed and never could exist? I haven’t yet found a word…but my body, music, sounds, literature, and imagery seem to explain the feeling…

Residue of past

possibilities

hangs in the air,

Like haze

on a Midwest winter day;

 

Grey on grey on grey on grey.

Grey.

Steel. Sleet. Grit.

Paved.

Nothing black or white.

Fuzzy layers of susurrant woods

awaiting warmer undercurrents.

 

Midnight on misty backroads

Headlights crest gradually

over hills,

eerie ellipses of light.

Distances distorted.

Time          slows.

Cruising ahead.

 

Fleeting desire—

can these crisscrossing

routes overlay?

 

Early morning fog of remembering

Lavender skies awaken

dry, frost-bitten cornfields.

Here, now. There. Further yet.

Embedded within.

Memory.

 

Imprints,

twisted

tied together

cut short

extending,

fraying

threads,

turning

 

perspective lines

off-kilter

 

Parallel lines, over extended,

shift and slant,

momentary intersections—

a recollection—

only to continue on…

Onward

 

Toward distant, dense red light

slipping below

an infinite skyline,

 

Ceaselessly chasing

the horizon beyond

nostalgia.

~~

Alice Blumenfeld is the founder and artistic director of ABREPASO Flamenco and a visiting assistant professor of dance at Oberlin College. She holds an MFA in dance from Hollins University and a BA in comparative literature from New York University. In 2012, Alice received a Fulbright Grant for flamenco choreographic studies in Spain. As a freelance dancer, she has worked with many of the major flamenco companies in the US, and her choreography has been commissioned by many institutions, including the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, the National Hispanic Cultural Center, YoungArts and several universities. 

To learn more about Alice and her work, visit aliceblumenfeld.com.

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