Monday, June 28, 2010

Argentine Tango Dancer, Decision Portrait Series

(Above:  Argentine Tango Dancer, Decision Portrait Series.  Stitched words:  I took up TANGO at age 60.  Xylene photo transfer on tea-stained muslin.  25" x 19" unframed; 31" x 25" framed.  Click on image to enlarge.)

It didn't surprise me at all when my friend Melissa Bush, a professional family and marriage counselor, took up Argentine Tango dancing four years ago.  Melissa knows exactly how to enjoy life, indulge herself while balancing a career, and dabbles in all sorts of artistic pursuits.  Melissa and I have collaborated.  I turned several of her poems into visual arts expressions.  She frequently attends art openings, makes art purchases, and supports local non-profits. 

Several weeks ago Melissa was in my studio.  I was showing my Decision Portraits to another couple when Melissa said, "You should stitch me.....for deciding to be a tango dancer!"  Of course I agreed, enthusiastically!  There was a "milonga" the next night at Vista Ballroom.  (From Wikipedia....  Milonga is a term for a place or an event where tango is danced.)  Melissa stopped by my studio.....dressed "to kill"...before attending the milonga.  We had a blast snapping sexy photos while talking about her decision.

(Argentine Tango Dancer, detail.  Click on image to enlarge.)

Melissa took up Argentine Tango dancing BECAUSE SHE WANTED TO DANCE!  For her, it was a very, very simple decision.  But, she knows there are a lot of people in this world who would allow their age to interfere with such a choice.  She hopes that people seeing her portrait might reflect on their own decisions, excuses, and "artistic blocks" that prevent happiness and fulfillment.  My "photo session" with Melissa was very brief.....after all, she had on her dancing shoes and the counterclockwise motion to counterpoint 2x4 music beckoned.  Hopefully, others will follow their denied, hidden passions!

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