I used to think January was the grimmest month, fit only to be endured. But I’ve changed my mind in the last few years. Now I think of it as crystaline and ripe for adventure. It’s the perfect time to build a fire in the fireplace and throw a party– draw people out of their caves to experience something wonderful.
The Moving Poets had the same idea, because they hosted an intimate evening of art last weekend in a log cabin in the woods in the center of the city. I knew it would be an amazing way to spend an evening and I was not disappointed.
There were four art experiences set up in the cabin, as well as an open studio going on out back. Jason Watson’s wonderful scroll took up one long wall. It refused to be strictly rectilinear, and curved and meandered instead. There were grommet holes at random places across the long stretch of heavy paper to hang it by, and it was elaborately and wonderfully drafted and sculpted.
The first live performance was by Tanja Bechtler and Robert Teixeira— a rich collection of Spanish music for guitar and cello. They played above our heads in the cabin’s balcony, and the sound coming from behind us was flawless,sure and spirited. They were soon joined by Talia Buitrago and Daniel Arrendondo, dancers who performed Argentinian tango improvisations based on the music.
I knew it would be a magical experience, two married couples— musicians and dancers, performing ensemble, but it far surpassed anything I could have expected. Interestingly, the tango revealed itself as a reflection on relationship. I had presumed it would be sultry and athletic. It was far more. I became fascinated by the interaction as much as the actual dance. It was a very pure experience of communication and trust. The music and dance were the rarest of things: perfect marriages.
What followed was a performance of a new piece— a tantalizing sample of a work by the Poets based on plays by Samuel Beckett, planned as a collaboration with the theater department of Cambridge. I had selfishly nabbed a center front row seat so I could lose sight of everything but the art, and could capture it with my camera to share online. This dance performance was happening three feet in front of me. Proximity and the dancer, Alyce Cristina’s skill left me overwhelmed.
Nothing puts joy in a day like art, with artists’ ideas taking unexpected turns and making everything seem fresh and alive. It reminds me of all that is good in us. I welcome the news that the Moving Poets are planning more performances for our city in coming years. There’s been a void where they should have been.
And they know exactly what to do with January.