Dancer changed society’s views |

Dancer changed society’s views

I was watching our dancers spring into life on the studio floor the other day. Their bare feet flying to the modern music, rolling and stretching to the beats so lithely, it is difficult to imagine a time when dancing like that was considered shocking.

In the late 1800s, a woman would be born who would change the face of dance forever, but only after she had ventured over boundaries about what women could do, and how dance was to be performed.

The ancient Greeks and their theater performances inspired Isadora Duncan, a dance legend of the late 19th century. She was born to a mother who, although economically challenged, always made sure her children had music, art and dance classes, not unlike many mothers today. Duncan studied ballet in New York at an early age but broke free of the rigid, turned-out positions to dance in her bare feet, often inspired by nature around her.

From the rhythm of the Pacific waves pounding the beach to the rustle of wind in the grass, this gifted dancer reached the heights of expression through the simple movements of life, such as running, leaping and skipping. These graceful movements were blended with forms of popular social dance like the polka and waltz. Sometimes she danced to classical overtures, and other times she danced onstage to poetry being recited. All this was surprising to the society of the time, and dancing barefoot in flowing, gauzy costumes was considered over-the-top for public performance.

Duncan performed powerful dances about war, grief and politics, just as modern dancers continue to do today. And although unpopular at the time, she eventually changed societal viewpoints by perseverance and expressing her creative honesty.

Artists bring the vivid details of their lives into their expression. Whether it is dancing through a personal tragedy, or writing from the heart of controversy, they express a full range of feelings and beliefs. Artists, dancers, writers, poets and musicians belong to an exceptional group of humans who are challenging themselves by tapping into an inner gift present in each of us. Sometimes it is the simple pleasures of the world around us that bring the grandest expressions, just like Isadora discovering the dance in the power of a wave.

Become a legend or just spend time discovering your creative nature. Challenge personal boundaries and support the arts, learn a new way of expressing your truth and stay on the cutting edge of creativity.

The valley is full of art programs to enhance awareness and artistic abilities. One of the most important things for each of us to do is to sharpen our creative sight. Learn to dance your heart out, belt out a song, sling some clay, create like Picasso or join the local theater company.

There is something for everyone in the arts!

Sinda Wood is program assistant for the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts. Call the center at 945-2414 for applications, tickets or information.

The Tibetan Buddhist Gaden Shartse Monks will appear at the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts at 7 p.m. Sunday. The event is part of their 2005-06 Sacred Earth and Healing Arts of Tibet tour of the United States. The suggested donation is $20 at the door, with children admitted free.

The evening will include traditional dances, ancient instruments and multiphonic chanting, followed by a talk titled “World Peace and The Unity of all Religions.” The event will conclude with a peace ceremony, an invitation to join in creating the conditions on earth for all beings of the world to coexist in peace, harmony and happiness. The Gaden Monastery was founded in Lhasa, Tibet, in 1490 and once housed more then 5,000 monks. It was renowned for producing scholars, geshes, and lamas. When China forcibly occupied Tibet in 1959, the monastery was destroyed and the monks exiled to southern India. The monastery was re-established on Indian government-donated land. It is now recognized as the finest seat of scholarship for the preservation and development of Tibetan culture. Call 945-2414 for more information.

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