Drawn To Dance

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Describing his efforts to draw the dancer María Muñoz, John Berger hints at the unlikely links between drawing and dance.

The effort of my corrections and the endurance of the paper have begun to resemble the resilience of María’s own body. The surface of the drawing, its skin, not its image, makes me think of how there are moments when a dancer can make your hairs stand on end. – John Berger

John Berger drawing of María Muñoz.

Both drawing and dance use visual representation to suggest forces that become—whether through fleet of foot or sleight of hand—attached to the material.

You lose your sense of time when drawing. You are so concentrated on scales of space.

John Berger

In drawing as in dance, Berger suggests, something slips through our fingers, darts past the corner of our eyes.

We who draw do so not only to make something observed visible to others but also to accompany something invisible to its incalculable destination.

John Berger

We see deeper surfaces beyond the surface, bodies within the body, glimpsing positively into negative spaces. We feel it, sense it, but then it’s gone.

Drawing María in the Bridge position was like drawing a coal miner working in a very narrow seam.

John Berger

Perhaps only through something like the repetitive technical labors of drawing and dance can we affix presence to that absence. Call them riveting art forms.

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