One Billion Rising

One of the billion rising

One of the billion rising

Today one billion people will rise against violence against women. It is V day. All over the world women have been learning the steps to a dance. It will be done at points where they have gathered together dance to Breaking the Chain. My daughter is going to Central Park to dance with her friends and everyone else who have gathered together. I have watched it on U Tube being practiced in South Africa, France, Germany and the Phillipines. It starts with an invocation of the body opening to the energy of change,moves to the right, to the left , marching backward and forward, turning and arms opening and closing .There is a jazzy , happy bit and it ends with a single hand pointing to the sky. Each country seems to add its own identity and signature to the movement. This mural I did last year to catch the joy of Spring and celebration with dance. She is rising for freedom and safety and will always be there celebrating.

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.