I had forgotten this little gem.

Making a line shimmy and shake

I think this little ink drawing was done during a Zumba class.  Line is, for me, the most expressive mark I make and dancing bodies bring out the best in me.  I continue to strive for this kind of vitality in my paintings.

Tonight is the weekly Blues Jam at Larry Holmes Ringside Restaurant in Easton, PA.  Mike and Monica are flying up from Florida this morning and will join me at the Blues Jam.  I think they will love the music and the dance floor.  Not only will I get to paint the musicians tonight, I will have the opportunity to paint Mike and Monica dancing.  They are both awesome dancers.  I don’t think my fountain pen will do them justice.  I think it’s a night for the dip pen.

"Mosquitos" performed by Busterman, choreographed by Christian Von Howard

"Mosquitoes" performed by Busterman, choreographed by Christian Von Howard

Twice within a week I experienced the disconnect between my eye and my hand as my brain searched for a familiar pattern solution and came up empty.  I felt myself shift from free flow to confusion as my brain searched for enough information to create a new pattern.  Instead of sending Mosquito moves or Zumba moves to my hand, it sent odd fragments of ballet, bar dancing and jazz.   My arm and fingers drew the sweep of a Pat Sonne move rather than the wonderfully angular shapes of the two dancers performing “Praying Mantis”.  My brain was at a loss, but my body kept moving, grasping at images from the now distant past.

I recall the evening, several years ago, when I paintied Pat without ever looking at her, though she moved beautifully across the dance floor to the original compositions of jazz.  Tuesday night was practice night at Indulge for the 16 piece orchestra.  I began to paint the music rather than the movement, tapping into my memory of the movements I knew so well from having painted Pat three nights a week for a couple of years.  The need for new body movements led me to painting at dress rehearsals and performances of the Roxey Ballet and Wings Conservatory.  The difficulty in capturing the essence of the new style of movement surprised me.  I thought the connection was strong between my eye and my hand.  I didn’t realize that the middleman, the brain, had to create a new set of directions to send to my hand.

Zumba Event in Califon, New Jersey

Zumba Event in Califon, New Jersey

In addition to unfamiliar movements, I found myself confounded by a new form of energy driving the movements of the women at last Friday evening’s Zumba event.  I had no prior knowledge of the phenomena, Zumba.  As the Zumba website defines it, it is ” … a fusion of Latin and International music that creates a dynamic, exciting, and effective fitness system.”  I thought that my belly dance class was incredible, bonding women of all ages, sizes and levels of experience.  Even that experience didn’t prepare me for the energy of the wild, sneakered, women last Friday night. The auditorium of the Presbyterian Church in Califon, NJ was transformed into a mutation of a gymnasium, dance floor, ritualistic bonfire and a “Freeing of the Spirit” workshop.  The music started; Deirdre took to the stage and led the 100+ women on an hour long journey of stretches, gyrations, shimmies, shakes and giggles, stopping only for water breaks to keep the sweating, smiling, delightfully happy women hydrated.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  I will need at least two more sessions of painting during a Zumba class before my brain will come up with a good set of directions to send to my hand.  I look forward to that opportunity!