Hold Me Closer Tiny Dancer

The New Whitney Museum is open, and amaaaaaaaazing (Oprah voice emphasis) ! I swore I wouldn’t visit for the first month, because- crowds, ugggh. But, I broke that promise to myself and took a bit out of an afternoon to wander through the exhibit America is Hard to See. The premise of viewing America through the Whitney’s permanent collection seemed daunting and migraine inducing at first. I entered all like “Error: CANNOT COMPUTE.”  But as I strolled through the floors, the myriad of connections that make up the nation began to seem natural.

Of course it didn’t take me long to find the first piece I wanted to pose with. Richmond Barthes’ “African Dancer” was near the start of the exhibit and was poise and grace and all that jazz in plaster sculpture form.  According to the didactic this piece was most likely inspired by this bomb Langston Hughes poem, “Danse Africaine.”

The low beating of the tom-toms,  The slow beating of the tom-toms,  Low…slow  Slow…low—  Stirs your blood.  Dance!  A night-veiled girl  Whirls softly into a  Circle of light.  Whirls softly…slowly,  Like a wisp of smoke around the fire—  And the tom-toms beat,  And the tom-toms beat,  And the low beating of the tom-toms  Stirs your blood.

The low beating of the tom-toms,
The slow beating of the tom-toms,
Low…slow
Slow…low—
Stirs your blood.
Dance!
A night-veiled girl
Whirls softly into a
Circle of light.
Whirls softly…slowly,
Like a wisp of smoke around the fire—
And the tom-toms beat,
And the tom-toms beat,
And the low beating of the tom-toms
Stirs your blood.

All of this got me to thinking about other images of dance that have stuck with me through the years.

In sculpture there’s another famous tiny dancer by Degas. He’s also known for his paintings of dancers by color.

Edgar Degas Little Dancer

In contemporary art we can recall the Ernie Barnes of Good Times fame. Those Keith Haring figures seem to get down as well.

And for those of you surviving and thriving in Philly, I came across this entire exhibit dedicated to dance from the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s archives.
Boogieeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!