“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost….”~Martha Graham
As we were dancing today in a pop-up performance, an older lady expressed appreciation of our dancing, commenting with knowledge of the art. When I asked if she were a dancer, she answered wistfully with that dreaded response, “Well, I WAS a dancer.”
I’ve written about, lamented, the “was a dancer” fallacy here. Long story short: In my book, you are a dancer or painter or writer or musician or other artist or you’re not. It’s not something that changes, like a hairstyle or an address.
So, yes, we gave her the “once a dancer, always a dancer” assurance. And were rewarded with her pulling a few dancerly moves…just to prove our point.
And now, this thought: What if all of us artists responded every time with a “Yes! I am a
dancer/musician/painter/actor/calligrapher/writer/other artist”? No apology or qualification, no confession of how long it’s been since we last created, whether or how much we are paid, what critical acclaim we’ve received, pedigree we possess, commissions or jobs we’ve had.
What a more sparkly world it would be (wouldn’t it?) with countless proclaimed artists beating the drum! And so, yes, yes indeed, here’s to all of the artists.
“…It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you…. No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.” ~Martha Graham
Top photo: Courtesy of Nikki Carrara © 2017; Sculpture: Gil Boro