Dancing in the Dark

Updated: Dec 2, 2021

Sorry I’ve been MIA for so long, Let Me Explain-

It’s been so long since I’ve last typed for my blog it feels weird doing so.

What’s it been, two and a half months, three months, since I last made a blog post?

Uiy. That really rankles me.

So much has happened; I’m not sure where to start.

I’ll just write it as a timeline. I believe I mentioned that I would start taking some classes soon and I did.

I signed on for three classes at Texas A&M Corpus Christi as a Graphic Design Major and they have left me reeling.

John Singer Sargent- Sketches for El Jaleo

That is what has largely been keeping me occupied.

I could wax eloquent about these classes and all I have learned, (and I likely will in a later post) but I’ll spare you the drama… for now.

Another paradigm shift if that as of early October- I quit my job. The environment had become toxic and I finally decided to take some of my own advice.

I shook the dust off my feet and left.

John Singer Sargent Preliminary Sketch for El Jaleo

Resigning was a jarring, but also freeing experience. I won’t go into details but I will say this, when I leave a job crying- that is the last straw.

I turned in my resignation with a weeks’ notice. Honestly, I had thought I would be more upset at having to quit. I had been at that job for 10 years and mostly I had loved it, but leaving has been nothing but a huge relief. Between the stress of that supervisor and keeping up with three classes, I’d been having anxiety attacks and trouble sleeping. Now that I’ve had time to concentrate and rest, I have been doing markedly better in my assignments and the anxiety attacks have stopped.

I have enjoyed what I’ve been learning so far but honestly I am worried about finances. I’ll be okay until the semester ends but when it does I need to find a new job asap.

I know I made the right decision in quitting, otherwise I wouldn’t feel the sense of relief I do. My life is in God’s hands.

I’ve trusted him this far and I will continue to trust him to provide for my needs.

I’ll just hold his hand in the dark.

I remember thinking that when I quit my job; that I would hold His hand in the dark.

Which leads me to something I have wanted to share for some time now-

It’s a painting entitled, "El Jaleo" by John Singer Sargent. He was an American impressionist Painter who, in the 1880's, traveled to Europe looking for inspiration and found it in the Gypsy culture of Southern Spain. From the food, the people, the culture, the dance, the art, he fell in love with it all.

It was during this time in his life that he worked on what came to be known as one of his most famous pieces, El Jaleo.

At this time, Southern Spain had a large Gypsy population, and also many anti-gypsy laws which made daily life sometimes very difficult for Roma (Gypsy) families.

The broader culture at the time looked down upon the Roma as being, at best, course and unrefined.

But here, Sargent is depicting how he sees Gypsy culture, as wild and vibrant and, to my eyes, beautifully defiant.

El Jaleo by John Singer Sargent :-D

The dance the woman is performing here is called a, “Ruckus”.

(Seriously. It’s were we get the word from.)

We see the dancer here in full costume, her face showing she is lost in her performance.

Note something about the painting, the dancing woman is not actually the focus, she is off center in the painting, which draws your eye to the background. There you see the male musicians who seem to be playing and singing their hearts out, the other women in the background who are singing and clapping to the music. You can see on the faces of all that they are playing their hearts out and having the time of their lives.

In a time and place where there are literally "Anti-Gypsy" laws in place.... and their lives were considered cheap, she is dancing.

She is dancing in the dark world she is living in.

She is dancing in defiance of the darkness around her.

That Sargent would portray a, “Gypsy” woman in such a vivid, beautiful manner, as in an intimate get- together of family and friends, caused this painting to at first, not be well received. Critics hated it and made sure he knew it.

In the years since however, it came to be considered a beloved masterpiece of modern impressionism.

I want to live my life like this dancer- to be able to celebrate and be glad no matter what the circumstances I am living in just because I can; just because I'm alive.

No matter how much the darkness threatens, don't let it take your joy.

Dance in defiance of the the darkness around you.

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