Joby Talbot's gorgeous choral work Path of Miracles (2005) is about the Camino de Santiago, the pilgrimage route in Northern Spain dating back to medieval times. Some friends of ODC/Dance Co-Director KT Nelson introduced her to Talbot's work a few years ago, and Nelson walked the route with her husband. Now she's set a dance about her experiences to the music.
“And I am not religious," Nelson told me before a rehearsal a few days ago. "But having taken the pilgrimage I got a sense of what the score meant.”
Nelson says her work traces the emotional stages that most pilgrims experience. "The first movement is about enthusiasm," she says. "The second movement is hitting a wall emotionally. The third movement is about acts of kindness, and the fourth is a celebration of finishing and connecting with the community of other pilgrims."
The acts of kindness were like subtle miracles. "Somewhere, out of nowhere, someone would help you find a place to stay, or bandage your foot, or tell you where to go to eat," Nelson says. "And when you’re in the middle of nowhere, and you don't speak the language, that is pretty wonderful."