Dance for Joy

My studio window with fired clay dancers overlooking the river

These dancers are portraits of real people. In the eighties I went to New York and was asked by a friend who is a professional dancer to come to her classes to observe. She had been a principal dancer for the Martha Graham Dance Company and was teaching at the famous Alvin Ailey’s and Julliard Dance at Lincoln center. She later founded the Jeanne Ruddy Dance Company. So I came sketchbook in hand and sat crosslegged on the floor and tried to catch the movement of the young dancers. I was used to static life drawing classes where the model holds a pose. These dancers were reaching , dipping, leaping , turning . The Graham technique employs much floor work so they were also rolling, balling up, and releasing. Arms and legs and hair went flying, swirling , whipping around. Into this I pushed my pencil and tried to stabilize one movement. I admire the Martha Graham body of work and the technique. The use of myth , the drama of passion, love, betrayal, lost in spirals and trapped in nets trying to survive the human condition on the stage is riveting. One of my favorites is “Rite of Spring”. It is tribal, virginal, sacrificial, and ends in celebration. So my small dancers leaping in a circle are frozen in their own rite of Spring.