Quadrille dancers

Quadrille dancers - 2010

The quadrille, a precursor to the modern square dance, is a part of St. Croix’s cultural heritage. It was brought here from England and became a part of plantation life well before the end of slavery. Like the square dance, it is formal, with dancers changing partners regularly throughout the dance. The traditional costume includes madras plaid shirts for the men and large head scarves for the women.

In this case, the St. Croix Heritage Dancers were performing accompanied by one of the street bands at an evening festival in Christiansted. The light, the mid-street venue, and the music made for a surreal mixture of the old and the new.

quadrille, the music

The Music - 2010

10 Comments on “Quadrille

  1. A juicy watercolor with strong bones–yes, that’s what I thought when I first saw this image.

    Incredible work. Thank you for a little history on the Quadrille.

  2. Thanks, Melinda. I always appreciate your comments. Interesting how that top image does have the feel of a wet-on-wet watercolor — juicy as you say. I do most of my work with brushes of various shapes and textures, and different degrees of transparency. In some ways it’s a process not so different than paint.

  3. Oh, I think your work is very painterly. Of course, your work has a luminosity that paint just can’t imitate. This reminds me of my stained glass work of years past–working with light and strong color. It was hard for me to transition to paint.

    Your work transcends the medium. And, isn’t that what good art does?

  4. Thanks, Melinda! I appreciate the compliment. Now if I can just find a way for the light to shine from within the print!

  5. I’ve been MIA from here and isn’t this a refreshing jolt back into the color and energy of St. Croix! The woman truly appears to be moving as if 3D glasses were required. For some reason, I miss the slight detail of head and face in her partner that you’ve given to her and the third person to her left. My first take was that he was headless…and since that’s sorta a powerful transmission, I found myself scrambling to find him a head. But, maybe, if Pat put her glasses on, his head would be there. Wait one moment…..Glasses on…OK, he’s bowing there right under where I thought his head was! Please disregard everything except the part where I tell you about the lovely color and energy. Jeesh.

  6. Hi Pat! The headless dancer, huh? Yes, glasses can help… sometimes. This is one of two versions of this; the other is much more distinct and focused more on the woman. Each has their strengths, and yes, both are full of color and motion. thanks!

  7. Glasses, looks like one of my comments. Amazing how a pair of glasses can change things. Beautiful fun images, I get the feeling of the Joy of dancing when I look at these pictures.

  8. Hi Starla! Yes indeed, a pair of glasses certainly can change things — unfortunately not always for the better. for example, when i put them on, then I see all the dust on my desk!
    The dance and the music at these street parties is always fun… Thanks!

  9. ” The Music ” really sings to me. In giving it a smudge-y pastel effect, the focus seems to be on the quintet as a group and not an individual. For me, the suggestion evokes just as much as the detail.
    If you’re familiar with John Jone’s work here, his pastel works of musicians have a similar quality.

  10. Hi Bonnie! Glad you like “The Music”. You are right that I was trying to evoke the sound of the music joining the heat of the day dissipating into the evening air… rather than focusing on any one of the musicians. Yes, I’ve liked many of Jones’ pastels of musicians, one of the first artists who really caught my eye here years ago.

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