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Capturing movement

"sketches from the dance studio #1 & #2, ©2011 & blind gesture from PDT Nutcracker ©2012

There is nothing to compare with drawing in the dance studio. The room is full of suspense as the teacher stands at the front of the class waiting for complete silence. Ready and in position at the ballet bar, dressed in leotards, leggings, or workout skirts, their feet covered by ballet slippers or point shoes, the dancers are now still, watching in anticipation at the master before them. Like a conductor before the orchestra, the instructor is poised. His subjects await his demands. He gives verbal cues as to what he expects from his students, and then a quick demonstration of body movement. French and Italian or Russian terms are added. "Arabesque...Assemble...Attitude..." With a wave of his hand the music begins. "First Position...and ONE, and TWO, and THREE and FOUR, AND FIVE and SIX and SEVEN and EIGHT". The Instructor prompts the pianist to begin. The dancers know what is expected of them. They understand his language. They understand what is next. Suddenly the viewer is engulfed in the journey of dance. The senses are stimulated by the rhythm of the music. The pitch and harmony of the instruments become one with the movement of the dancer as he lifts his legs beyond humanly possible. After several minutes at the bar, the dancers muscles are warmed up, ready for floor. The instructor once again provides his students with a demonstration, showing what he expects the dancer to perform. They follow in line...sometimes 1 or 2 at a time...then the next group...and the next. Suddenly the room has taken on a life of its own.

With my eyes, ears and hand I begin to decipher and document the dancers' movement. Delicately balancing on one toe, the ballerina seems to float in the air. She twirls and leaps, her hands beautifully displayed with arms outreached. The male counterpart jumps, spins and leaps powerfully across the room. I hold my breath. I stop looking at what my hand is doing, though it keeps on recording what I see before me. I am absorbed in the moment...the movement...the dance.

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