Deep in my art
I have loved the arts since childhood. I enjoy writing, singing, dancing and performing. I have travelled overseas to train in dance. I now lead a performing company of people with and without disability. I think all people have a basic need to create and enjoy art.
Posted by: Janice Florence, on 01/12/09
Drawn to the arts
I have been drawn to the arts since I was small. I’m not from an especially arty family, but as was more common then, my mother played the piano and our relatives sang together for entertainment.
I asked if I could go to dance school at the age of three. At four, I performed as a duck, a monkey and a “can-can” girl. At eight, I persuaded my mother to send me to a proper ballet school.
From an early age, I was also writing poems. My mother, who left school at 16, recited lines from old poems learned by heart at school.
As a teenager I bought sheet music and made my mother play the piano while I sang songs in the living room stacked with Coca Cola crates behind our milk bar.
All sorts of music
Teachers at my humble, working-class school played all sorts of music for us, mostly classical. I went to school with children from many countries. I found out about their music and cultures. Many of them valued the arts more than my average Aussie classmates.
I have always found music of many kinds emotional, transporting, and uplifting. I’ve sung in several choirs. There is something wonderful about being lifted on a wave of communal sound.
I was the wrong size and shape for ballet, but later I found other forms of dance that could stretch to a 180cm woman, and later to a 180cm woman in a wheelchair.
I loved literature and studied it at University, still writing poems. I also snuck into Fine Arts lectures I wasn’t enrolled in.
To explore, learn and discover
After qualifying as a librarian, I did a Dance diploma. My dance interests took me to the United States and the United Kingdom to explore, learn and discover, twice funded by the Australia Council.
Now I run a performing company for people with and without disability. My involvement with dance grew as an adult because it made me feel good, and then I suddenly found myself organising other people to do it. We have been funded to do many interesting projects, including recently being directed by one of Chunky Move’s senior dancers.
I was never sporty. Dance is my way to connect all levels - emotional, physical and creative.
A magical space
The theatre is a magical space for me. It might be artificial, but we humans love telling stories. Life is given a shape, a beginning and an end. Good often triumphs in a play or movie, whereas real life is usually messier than that. Humans seem to thirst to make art, be it graffiti or grand opera. They long to create invented worlds, thus we have Harry Potter.
Famous American contemporary choreographer Twyla Tharp said
art is the only way to run away without leaving home, while painter Pablo Picasso said
art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
Whales frolic in the ocean, and sing to each other. They don’t build factories and freeways and run around working like demented ants. Maybe we have something to learn from them about life and art.
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