From Degas, not from the ballet itself, I learned to love dancers. I love the tension, balance and the hidden force of gravity. Evoking that in steel was the challenge. The BIG DANCER was an early attempt and, at 15 feet, my grandest to that date. I started with 2-in. square structural tubing, which yielded only marginally to hot deformation, so that, for example, the spine was built out of many short pieces that were then wrapped with blacksmithed flatbars to hide joints. I found the effect beautiful. I extended this technique and created shoelaces from the same flat bars, securing the figure to its on-point foot, the claw of a caterpillar bucket. On the whole, I felt this early piece was a success, though i have largely dropped 2-in. tubing from my repertoire.
Conceptually, one could say that this piece demonstrates that the curve can be approximated by segmented straight lines. In other sculptures I have sought curvature through blacksmithing. In later work, for example BLUE SAIL, i began to use narrow crescents to blend into continuous curves, even a full sail.
15' x 8' x 3'
4 - 6