My Heart's in the Highlands
"My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here."
~ Robert Burns
Choreography: Sarah Hixon
Music: My Heart's in the Highlands, A. Part
Costumes: Jessica DiBattista
"My Heart's in the Highlands" is a quintet that explores isolation, home-sickness, and abandonment. There can be a helplessness at times of major transition, and this piece delves into the emotions and psychology that occur during this sense of foundational loss. While there is no specific narrative, the dancers have an obvious connection--even a reliance on one another--through weight bearing, lifting, and a shared vulnerability. The movement has an organic development from the simple unison floorwork to juxtaposed trios, duets, and solos happening simultaneously. Throughout the piece, one dancer is clearly the "odd one out," purposefully faltering within the group. Longing, grapsing, and finally being left on stage alone she represents the despondency and heartache at being forsaken--losing , perhaps, all that might best represent "home."
The score by Arvo Pärt is a singular treatment of the Robert Burns' poem of the same title. The music is haunting yet beautiful, recalling the loneliness of the Scottish highlands but with a deeper sense of spirituality. The counter-tenor intones only a single note during each verse as the organ arpeggiates beneath. This drives the piece slowly, even monotonously, forward while leaving the voice hanging solitary above.