Journal » Trout 12 » Salto, Salto, Where Are Your Shoes? [Michele Leggott]
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salto, salto, where are your shoes?

Michele Leggott

for Sally Rodwell and France Hervé

Gliding between two points of stasis, walking, walking – dreaming follows. Eight steps and the variations add up to an infinity of movement, the dream of stepping out in a strange land.

We go into a gallery, leaving our footwear at the door as requested by the troupe for whom the show has been designed. Neat rows of shoes tell us how many people are already inside.

Ladies and Gentlemen – music sweeps in from some half-remembered place in the past. White light reveals a man on a yellow chair, way up in the air, blowing a saxophone. The mademoiselle flings herself around a trapeze, catching herself with a hand or a foot two three as though she is playing with strings. The train leaves the station. From now on gravity does not apply.

We’ve been here before, a million years ago when there were paintings on the walls that represented time zero to 10-43 second and the temperature was supercalos standing in a line. The rope ladder we used then is still isotropic. Carefully the artists climb it, asking How do you get up a ladder when you have to get up it to attach it to something first so you can get up it?

Everything you have heard is true and none of it looks wrong as far as you can see. We leave the café with a universe the size of a grapefruit fizzing in a paper bag. The costumes are halfway between grunge and Picasso, the lights are dreamy. It’s champagne on a night you will never forget. Bosuns dance in the streets.

Inside the tent the show goes on. Tumblers throw themselves at each other in a tango that lifts us up from our seats. They’ve crossed three wild frontiers to bring us the first second of our particular era.  

Cirque velo! The aerialists return in ever greater numbers until it seems there’s a galaxy revolving overhead. They’re pulling matter out of light, folding themselves in and out of folding chairs up there, dragging us with them as they pick up firesticks and build a double dodecahedron aboard a loopy bike.

We’re breathless watching them. We know they will do it, but how? Annihilation threatens, the saxophone warps blue notes along the platform. Didn’t we come out to have fun? Won’t anyone put money in the hat?  

Rapture. It’s done. Matter decouples from energy and light travels freely across space. The window of the universe opens, we see ourselves standing in a glare, handsprings on a hot pavement, bells from a seaside cathedral sugar-dusted with snow. Sandal weather; we fly.

Summer, salt, the stars.

We fall back to earth, the lights come up. We’re in a gallery bathed in cold white silence. All the shoes are there, scattered under cover of darkness by the troupe. We go out onto the floor to look for one and then the other.

We weep.


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© Copyright 2004 Michele Leggott & Trout.