A Functioning Cog: The Fleet Foxes Connection to a World Premiere Ballet

April 4, 2013

American Music Festival

Paul Stavish

Paul Stavish

By Paul Stavish


OBT Staffer Paul Stavish is a big Indie music fan and was thrilled to learn that Choreographer Trey McIntyre would be using the music of Seattle’s Fleet Foxes for his new work. As our resident Fleet Foxes expert Paul shares some interesting connections between the music and ballet itself.


Fleet Foxes

Fleet Foxes

“I was raised up believing
I was somehow unique
Like a snowflake, distinct among snowflakes,
Unique in each way you can see.
But, now, after some thinking, I’d say I’d rather be
A functioning cog in some great machinery,
Serving something beyond me.”

The above is a lyric from pacific NW indie rock rising stars Fleet Foxes, from a song called Helplessness Blues, the title track off their latest record.

It’s an interesting line, and my favorite one they’ve written.   Can’t we relate to this?  As children, so many of us are encouraged to develop the knowledge and experience that will allow us to become unique.  Yet when we enter adulthood, we become part of society.  We look to discover what’s popular, and listen to a lot of the same music and movies together.  We crave others who can appreciate and share our similar interests and experiences.  There are at times others who do what we do best better.  We are not all presidents, superstars, or in charge.

What I love about that line is that it so perfectly illustrates that not only is this perfectly ok, but that it is in fact invigorating, and inspiring.

Ballet illustrates this sentiment with such beauty.  The peak of ballet is to see a company that exists and acts in unison.  Each dancer plays a part in this as they listen, contribute, and respond to the energy around them.  I have been told that dancers at times describe this as not only dancing together, but breathing together.  It’s a beautiful thought – a group of individuals who have worked so hard to perfect their individual skills so that they can best serve an entity able to radiate more powerfully than any individual can.

Perhaps you saw this when the Snowflakes dance in The Nutcracker.

Oregon Ballet Theatre's 2012 production of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. Photo by Blaine Truitt Covert.

Oregon Ballet Theatre’s 2012 production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. Photo by Blaine Truitt Covert.

Or when the Swans were on stage earlier this year in Swan Lake.

Oregon Ballet Theatre's 2013 production of Christopher Stowell's Swan Lake. Photo by Blaine Truitt Covert.

Oregon Ballet Theatre’s 2013 production of Christopher Stowell’s Swan Lake. Photo by Blaine Truitt Covert.

In a few short weeks, we’ll display this phenomenon once again.  We can’t wait to show you how connected Trey McIntyre’s Robust American Love is to the seven Fleet Foxes songs he’s choreographed to.  Pontus Lidberg has created an amazingly smooth and liquidic ballet called Stream.  Matthew Neenan’s At the border provides the juicy and dynamic contrast that you’ll sink your teeth into.

Come and be a part of it.

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One Comment on “A Functioning Cog: The Fleet Foxes Connection to a World Premiere Ballet”

  1. RNWI Says:

    Great job, Paul!

    Well said!

    Ken

    Reply

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