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Carolyn Carlson about Pneuma

Pneuma, which was originally created for the Ballet de l’Opéra National de Bordeaux, was inspired by the book Air and Dreams: An Essay on the Imagination of Movement (1943) by Gaston Bachelard, an author who is very important to me. It is an ode to the intense poetry of human nature, woven into a web of music by Danish composer Gavin Bryars.

Pneuma photo Julien Benhamou, Bordeaux'n baletti
Photo Julien Benhamou, Bordeaux Opera Ballet

We are in constant dialogue with nature, our planet and the skies. I pay particular attention to the upper layers of the atmosphere: the clouds, the stars, the suns, the rains, the moons, the mystical origins of angels, and the possibilities of other dimensions. How often, in our materially saturated lives, do we turn our gaze toward the sky to observe this invisible emptiness? I recall my trip to the Grand Canyon in the United States, that incredibly beautiful, wide, desert-like, magnificently endless expanse. It felt as if I were on top of the world, where one feels tempted to jump into the eerie infinity, the magnificence below filled with currents of air. This nameless infinity was all I could think about.

Pneuma photo Julien Benhamou, Bordeaux'n baletti
Photo Julien Benhamou, Bordeaux Opera Ballet

This work is based on that experience. It’s a continuation of my ponderings, an inspiration of endless possibilities. A poem of a universe, written since the beginning of the world. All the inspirations I draw from these poets return to the original concepts of rising winds, which I like to call channels into sacred visions of miracles under the firmament. They show the paths of gazes on the inky black canvas of the sky. Thanks to these channels we can grow spiritually, just like the air allows our potential to grow and our senses to awaken.

Carolyn Carlson

Pneuma by Carolyn Carlson in A French soiree by Finnish National Ballet from 28/09 to 20/10/2018. New ideas about Pneuma by Carlson can be read on programme leaflet.