Ellen Oak

artistic excellence | intellectual acuity | spiritual imagination | cultural courage

Dark Angels

Weaving together sound, word, and song, Dark Angels celebrates a spiritual journey of healing from sexual, domestic, and theological violence against women. Although the last two movements can be performed as freestanding, live choral pieces, the four movement suite was created as the "soundtrack" for dance with a troupe of women from many walks of life. A video of a fully choreographed performance is available. The study guide provides context, discussion outlines, and the complete texts of the four movements.

Please find below links to the final two tracks on the CD.

I  Night Vision

The spoken text is from "Prayer for Continuation" in the poetry collection Unremembered Country by Susan Griffin. This movement embodies a waking dream of God. She is walking through the rubble of a bombed out city, stopping to sift the ashes, searching, grieving. There is a chorus of women watching her, honoring her grief.

II  Moved to Speak

Text:  "Erosion" from Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her by Susan Griffin. This movement is a dialogue between two voices. It explores the painful process of beginning to make personal meaning and connections out of isolated physical phenomena and sensory input: the process of becoming a person . . . a person who can remember, who can feel, who can hope.

III  You Hear Me

The text here is adapted from the translation of Psalm 22 by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy. Many will recognize the opening line of this psalm as the cry of Jesus from the cross. A connection is made here between that cry and the human experience of violence and abuse in feminine terms. Then comes a mysterious passage to praise.

IV  Calling

Text by Ellen, based on Isaiah 61. A  processional celebration of the communion of Spirit with flesh and blood.