The “Dancers”: A great piece of art! extra credit

http://www.360cities.net/image/denver-colorado-dancers-usa#169.27,44.07,70.0

After the discussion that took place of “The Dancers” statue in front of the Denver Performing Arts Center, I would like to post my opinion.

First, being a theatre major, I look at this statue with awe. Many times in theatre, like in art, there is a meaning behind the action or a message for the audience. Whither or not people like or do not like this statue, people can yet agree that it is a “talking point.” These talking points could be as basic as where the Denver Performing Arts Center is. Not knowing my way around Denver much, the first time I had to go to the DPAC (Denver Performing Arts Center) for a class, someone gave me directions to find the “Dancers” (the statue is around 60 feet high and very white. One cannot miss this statue. ) and from then on, I could easily find the DPAC.

For the people who need a historical background, the statue was put in 2003 by Jonathon Borofsky after a commission from the city of Denver. This “park” where the statue was placed in is called after maybe careful thought, the “Statue Park.” “The Dancers” were to replace a large fountain that had been vandalized repeatedly. Now, there hasn’t been reports of or much vandalism since then.

5 Responses

  1. I can see where you are coming from that this statue would have heightened meaning to people who understand theater, but doesn’t that limit its audience quite a bit, taking away from the overall success of the piece? Also, just because I’m interested (and trying to like this piece more), as a theater enthusiast, what would you read as the meaning behind the statues’ gestures?

  2. Hi! Thanks for your comment. Hopefully I can answer your questions in the best way.
    Why would it limit its audience? I think the statue is there to build an understanding of the performing arts and what fun performing arts is. If someone who was new to Denver and saw this statue, then saw the building DPAC near it, I think they would understand what the DPAC was even if they didn’t know much about performance arts.
    The statues’ gestures are what I think is a symbolism of how a person feels when performing. Many times that I have done a performance of some sort, I have felt beyond happy. (So much so that I have no hesitation to say that I have literally skipped home from the adrenaline from what the show gave me.)
    Now looking at the gestures as it is physically, when performing on a stage, you have to have a trust towards your fellow performers. The two dancers holding hands show this to me. Their other hands are reaching to maybe grasp the audience or a “God figure” to help with their performance. Their feet look like they are in the middle of a dance. Even in acting, there is a choreographed way to move.

  3. I believe the main point in Professor Van Lil’s argument was that the piece was not site-specific. As a public work, it seems unsuccessful because it does not add much to our conceptions of Denver and of the performing arts. That, I believe, was the most important aspect of her argument that the piece is ineffective.

  4. Hello,
    Kevin, I would definitely agree with your input on Professor Van Lil’s argument, I understood it the same way.

    Megan, Sorry if I was unclear. What I meant was, since you said that people who have an understanding of theater would appreciate this statue, it makes sense that this would limit the audience because not all people understand/appreciate theater. I guess that our discussion could be a case in point (if i understand you correctly): You are a theater enthusiast, and because of your insights, you can appreciate the statue more. On the other hand, I have very little experience in theater and do not have the same insights, which limits my understanding of what the piece symbolizes. If this is the case, it seems that the piece is geared towards a more specific audience, rather than the public (which would detract from its success as a *public art piece).

    I can definitely understand the joy that this statue portrays, you can absolutely see this in the light-hearted gestures of the figures. And I can appreciate that this is meaningful to a lot of people. But I do not think that the statue so obviously/immediately implies a performing arts center. I can see how the dancers fit now that I have been told that the building is a performing arts center, but did not make that connection before that class. To me, the piece speaks to fun, happiness, and teamwork (which is a little simple for me, I feel like it does theatre injustice by focusing solely on its lighthearted side. Even I know that theater has much more to it, and this statue seems to ignore that), rather than the specific context of signifying a performing arts center. I think that this is my real problem: that the piece does not inform its environment enough. Instead, I had to be told that it was a performing arts center before the piece made complete sense. I feel like this piece could be put anywhere, and still speak to the basic premise of fun, happiness, and teamwork.

    I hope I’m not being rude in my disagreements! I just am struggling so hard to find value in this piece as public art. Just goes to show how public art can really get people talking!

  5. Thanks to both of you! I totally understand better about site specificity now thanks to your comments (no Maddie, totally not rude!!!) And I totally agree.

    Its amazing that even as simple as this statue can make people talk no matter which background you are from.

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