Finis – Dance Composition Part XIX

I have finally acquired the video footage of the Student Dance Showcase from this past spring semester. Which means I have recordings of my choreography, finished and performed on-stage, in my possession. It’s amazing – I still can’t get over how proud I am of myself and my dancers.

If you’ve followed along in my posts relating my choreographic process, you will already have a good idea as to what the piece is about. For those of you who have not read those posts, however, I will give a short description of my work.

The piece centers around the Old English poem “The Wanderer.” A modern English poetic translation can be found here (this is the translation found in The Word Exchange, and the one which I used in my choreography). I wanted to create something that would help an audience unfamiliar with Old English to connect in a deeper way with the poem, which is one of my favorites. The movement is meant to stand as an alternate translation, rather than a pantomime re-telling, of the Old English.

I love Old English, but I know that many people don’t know what it is, or are intimidated by its unfamiliarity. I wanted to offer movement as another way to approach the language, and another way to understand the poetry. I believe the “Wanderer” poem especially can offer us something – what it tells us is important. To me, the final lines offer a way to find hope and peace in a world that, as the poet has spent the majority of the work lamenting, can often lack both of those. I don’t know what the audience this past spring took away from my choreography, but I hope that something in the movement and in the poetry stuck with them.

I hope you enjoy.

Til biþ se þe his treowe gehealdeþ,      ne sceal næfre his torn to rycene
beorn of his breostum acyþan,      nemþe he ær þa bote cunne,
eorl mid elne gefremman.      Wel bið þam þe him are seceð,
frofre to Fæder on heofonum,      þær us eal seo fæstnung stondeð.


photo by Erik Alberg.


11 Comments Add yours

  1. Lulu says:

    So… you can translate Old English via dance o___O

    dah hex?


    1. EmilyAbroad says:

      Dude totally.
      One medium of art translating another–it’s totally a thing. Music translates text, text translates image, etc. How is that so much different from text translating text? Intermediality is when things start really getting interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Aunt Sylvia says:

    Thank you for sharing this Anna! I was wondering what your dance “project” would look like and am so glad you received a video to share :- ) Nice work and nicely done by your students! Overall a great production! Will view again … this time with translation beside me … to better follow along!


    1. AnnaEstelle says:

      Thanks, Aunt Sylvia! I’m glad you liked it!


  3. I like this! I will not pretend to be an expert in interpreting dance, but from the perspective of my unlearned observation and my more learned knowledge of The Wanderer, I think it captures the spirit of the piece, from chaos, loss and grief to divinely ordered peace and harmony – the fastness of God. It puts me in mind of Alice Sheppard, who has done some fabulous work in Old English (including on The Wanderer), but has since become a full time dancer – which makes me happy for her but sad for me because it would be nice if she would publish more (but such is the talented nature of Tom Hill’s students).

    In any case, it is encouraging to see artistic reception work like this on “The Wanderer,” my favourite OE poem – usually popular reception of OE only gets as far as Beowulf. Nicely done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. AnnaEstelle says:

      Thank you! I’m glad it captures some of the spirit of the poem for you. I’ve not heard of Alice Sheppard – I shall look her up.
      I’m hoping to be able to do some more work like this – using dance as another way to approach old texts and aid more people in coming into contact and (hopefully eventually) dialogue with them. I don’t know that I could ever do full justice to something like The Wanderer in my choreography, but it is so exciting to try, and to see how others react to it.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Lalaithiel says:

    This is stunning. It’s so different from anything I’ve seen before, and I quite love it. Thanks so much for taking us along the journey of choreographing it all, and letting us see the final result.


    1. AnnaEstelle says:

      Thank you! I’m so glad you like it. =) It has been my pleasure to share it with you!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. joctavianr says:

    I can’t pretend to understand anything of dance. So, I really can’t give any kind of an intelligent comment. But I did enjoy watching the choreography and seeing what you’ve created. I’ll look up the poem later. From the English portions, it sounded quite interesting.


    1. AnnaEstelle says:

      You would really like the poem – it’s right up your literary alley, I think. ‘m surprised you aren’t already familiar with it. I am a bad friend. ;) I’m glad you liked it.



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