I was musing today during rehearsal of the Bernstein 1st Symphony how parts of the 3rd movement, entitled Lamentation, recalled in some places the music of another great American composer, Aaron Copland. That got me to thinking about a stunning performance of Copland’s Appalachian Spring ballet done by the Milwaukee Ballet in my first year in town. The choreography was by Mark Godden. The simplicity and grace of the Shaker lifestyle was eloquently portrayed in both the choreography and in the sparse sets. The latter consisted, to my memory, of Shaker-back chairs and straw brooms. At times the dancers used the chairs and brooms as pseudo partners; at others, the props were given a life of their own. In particular, I remember how effective it was when the dancers hung the brooms on hooks far upstage and set them swinging…gentle pendulums of rhythm in sync with the movement of the bodies downstage.
These earrings are my tribute to that simplicity and movement.