Music and Dance as a Transfer of Life

Music and Dance as a Transfer of Life

Every once in a while, a piece of music comes along that stops you in your tracks. On its own, Camille Saint-Saëns‘ lyrical meditation “Le Cygne” (The Swan) is a beautiful piece of music. But there’s something so powerful about seeing it performed like this. The dancer, Lil Buck, seems to float across the stage, effortlessly embodying that mournful grace of the swan. Here, I think of Yo-Yo Ma’s own words from our forthcoming show:

“Beauty is often an encapsulisation of a lot of different things in a certain moment — a frame, let’s say. It could be music. It could be a poem. It could be an event. It could be in nature, and often, possibly, most often in nature. But when that encapsulated form is received, there’s a moment of reception and cognition of the thing that is, some ways, startling.

And the moment you solve an equation — something is revealed, either in your own head or physically, materially revealed. There’s that moment where something is being transferred. There’s that moment which, essentially, there’s a transfer of life.”

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Mariah Helgeson

is an editor at On Being. She earned a degree in International Affairs with concentrations in the Middle East and Conflict Resolution from George Washington University. She grew up in Minnesota and was a program associate at the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network. When she’s not submerged in a good book she might be found laughing with her teenage sisters or playing chamber music as a member of the Markado trio.

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