Poetry in Motion

On the surface, the artistic mediums of dance and poetry are unlikely bedfellows. Sure, the Greeks of yore performed poetic works. And there was the Broadway musical Cats, based on works by T.S. Eliot. But by and large, these two roads diverged in a yellow wood, never to overlap again (if you'll permit us the poetic license of mixed metaphors). Until Richmond couple Natica and Richard Angilly came along, that is. The first time Natica heard Poet Laureate Richard Angilly, she said, “I can dance that! That is the music I have been looking for all my life!” They were married shortly thereafter and started a dance company that married the art forms as well. Now in its 19th year, the annual Dancing Poetry Festival is a performance that bases its show on poetry submissions from around the world. 15 dance/poetry groups perform ecclectic works, such as Shukriya’s Dancers of the Pharaohs troupe, which choreographed a sword dance "signifying the transformation of implements of destruction into plowshares." Another is a Mongolian handkerchief dance set to Carl Sandburg's poem "Masks." Angilly adds that "Each poem is significant in how it communicates its own meanings, and each poetic dance strives to develop art dance language that brings out the spirit of the chosen motivational poetic work." We're particularly thankful that the Angillys are rescuing poetry from the dreadful monotone in which we often hear it swathed.
Sat., Sept. 8, noon, 2012

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