Seeds from a Bottle brush tree in our garden scatter in today's wild wind.

Choreographer Barbara Cuckson explains her current iteration of her dance, ‘Tree’.

I follow her movements, my part in a duet. I am a Tree that will dance with its Spirit.

The dance has three parts. Part one is subtle and young. Part two is strong and mature. Part three is fragile, approaching death.

I start learning the dance just after hearing about the death of Jack Ward, veteran Antarctic expeditioner and scholar who first guided my PhD research. Jack explained how working in Antarctica shifted his perceptions towards an ‘elemental’ view.

The Tree dance is set to “Fragments” by Rachmaninov.

Barbara explains that it was the last thing he wrote before her left Russia forever.

Will interpreting this dance guide my present urge to connect what I know about Antarctic krill to the trees I am about to study as a science student in Australia?

About Lisa Roberts

Project leader
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2 Responses to Tree

  1. Lisa Roberts says:

    In Sydney today the trees dance wildly as they scatter their seeds!

  2. Barbara Cuckson says:

    The music is evocative of a sense of living, growing and ebbing. It is a breathing sigh, like the wind is to the tree. The form of ‘Tree’ becomes a symbol of an eternal cycle. It is not nostalgic nor sentimental, but has that quality of inevitablity. Called “Fragments” the music describes the cycle of life itself, however, the cycle rolls on.

    I have re-worked this choreography each time it has been created, and this time, it is dedicated to Lisa and Kathryn, both for different reasons.
    Using Bodenwieser influenced movements, which are organic and expressive, this gave me the freedom to simply allow the music to dictate the choreography. Having had the idea for the form and the motivation of using Lisa and Kathryn, the choreography dictated itself. Bodenwieser provided me with the understanding that the dance, and indeed the impulse for life itself, begins with the breath and floats on the breath.
    The Tree describes our world.