gardens and dance
on the principle of beauty
It was through my former career as a dancer and choreographer that I developed an eye for beauty and nuance. Beauty, as expressed by the Romantic poets, has always called to me. And to seek and express it through choreography was my life purpose. My New York City dance company performed my work in Manhattan-based theaters, dance festivals, universities, and at the Nassau County Museum of Art, located on the former Frick Estate, which is ranked among the nation’s largest, most important suburban art museums in the United States. Nestled in a sea of rolling hills and lush, majestic trees, it housed a gorgeous collection of Old Master paintings. Performing on their grounds, surrounded by all that luscious greenery, knowing those breathtaking paintings were only steps away, was magical. I will never forget that open blue sky hovering above us, making us feel if we reached high enough we could touch the clouds. Another memorable performance was as a guest artist at Douglass College at Rutgers University, where I created and performed in a choreopoem – a lyrical dance piece set to poetry. Years later, I was invited to appear on television’s Art Scene on Long Island, where I discussed my work and creative process, while a video montage of my dances played on a large screen behind me. I am grateful that my choreography, which was featured in The New York Times and Dance Magazine, was awarded numerous grants from the New York State Council on the Arts, where I later served as a grant panelist. Recently, I was elated to learn that photos of my choreography, taken by the legendary dance photographer Lois Greenfield, are part of the permanent archives of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. (Images posted below)
In the second phase of my creative life, I celebrated the beauty of Classicism. As an art dealer specializing in 18th- and 19th-century French academic art (more about that on the Art page), I was deeply moved by these bursting with life paintings, drawings, and prints. At the request of my art collector clients, I began designing interiors – elegant spaces where these marvelous art pieces could make a home. Harmoniously blending the fashionable modern with the classical, these rooms demonstrated that art and style, rooted in the principles of Classicism, are timeless. Although I enjoyed designing spaces for these gorgeous works of art, I am happiest in the garden, where I feel a deep connection to nature, in all its splendor – its colors…sounds…and scents. Flowers are staged as dancers, choreographed to enter and exit with the ever-changing seasons. The poet Wordsworth equates beauty with love, and I am certain the mystics do the same. It has to be, that our core self – our very center – is a place of dazzling beauty. And love – – its expression. My desire to create enchanting and fragrant gardens has provided me the good fortune to receive the position of Official Garden Designer of the Mission of Argentina to the United Nations. And, more recently, my garden designs, which have appeared in magazines and newspapers, were featured on the website and Instagram of Victoria magazine.
This journey through dance and gardens continues to lead me through new and wondrous passageways. My passion for 18th-century French art and culture, and my desire to create beauty, have evolved into other expressions- writing creative nonfiction stories and now a forthcoming book, which I hope will inspire those who are also moved by the principle of beauty.
“- but I have lov’d the principle of beauty in all things”
-john keats (1795-1821)
from a letter to Fanny Brawne, 1820
my garden designs
and my choreography
Solo Suite – A View Of Past Romance
Andrea Fisher Dance Company in performance at the Cunningham Studio Theater in New York City. Dancers June Balish, Maxine Lindig, and Tara Munjee in Fisher’s “Solo Suite – A View Of Past Romance”. Photograph by Cathy Gonsalez and music by Erik Satie.
I was thrilled to learn that photos of my choreography – taken by the legendary dance photographer Lois Greenfield – are part of the permanent archives of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. Below are images of my work, photographed by Ms. Greenfield.
woman on the edge of a chair
“Woman on the Edge of a Chair” was performed by June Balish (of the Andrea Fisher Dance Company) and made possible in part by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts. It was inspired by a piece of music by Per Nørgård and is a journey (my journey) inward. The dancer ventures deep into the psyche of her inner landscape to explore the most painful parts of herself. Once there, a door opens, leading her on a path to reconciliation and freedom. The chair represents everything she comes face to face with: her experiences, her relationships, and ultimately, herself.
This next piece, also performed by June Balish, is titled, “Syrinx”. Its inspiration came from a flute solo of the same name, composed by Claude Debussy. The music spoke to me, inspiring a dance that tells the story of a sphinx trying to free herself from stone. It is abstract, in that the imagery suggests the story through mood, senses, and emotions. However, the audience takes from it their own individual meaning. Our life experiences, memories, and desires define the meaning of a work of art at any given moment, making it unique to each of us. Some of my most treasured moments occurred after our performances; I was deeply moved when audience members shared with me how my dances affected them.