A lovely way to spend a Sunday. In partial sun life drawing one of the more interesting subjects I have had of late. She stood with gentle timeless curves deep in thought. Perhaps it was those thoughts that transformed her in my eyes from one drawing to the next. The image was not of one woman but all the women she had been during various parts of her life. Not just the more elderly woman who stands before me here.
I saw in her also the young woman full of promise, not yet worn out by life’s obstacles. She was soft and gentle and danced in moonbeams and in front of delighted audiences, the young gypsy dancer. In her own right she was a draw at any box office in the Northern towns where she toured. Not perhaps the first string of dancers, but assuredly the second. She worked hard and was given respect and an income. Who could want more.
She had kept on dancing no doubt, past where she was really up to years of one night stands, at times mounting a production all by herself, making her opportunities where they did not just simply present themselves to Baba Yaga. To get a few extra gigs here and there she danced under various names and each of her performing persona took on solo performances. It is a wonder she could even keep her bookings straight. Then I could see slowly life wearing her down. It was no longer about dancing but in surviving what very often were some very unpleasant realities. Still she could muster a straight, strong back to face the next day, and the next.
At other times of desperation made her so tired she could not even stand up. Life is hard for someone living by heir wits. Talent does not always happily meet up with opportunities to put them to use. That is the very sad thing that by now those days are gone, and the great talent has been betrayed by a body that just simply can no longer keep up with the demands of just talent. Never having reached the stature of “star” performer no allowances would be made to help her earn a living through dance anymore. so she was back, just a gypsy doing gypsy trades, as her mother and grandmother had also done before her.
Life is etched on our faces by the time we are fifty, our bodies are no different. Aside from the lines of time and trouble many women, and Baba among them, have a poetic elegance that though changed by time still is a thing of beauty. I could not help adding this portrait as she sat deep in thought. Not just the sum of her years, but the sum of every emotion, experience and inherited trait. Each of us are precisely so unique not just because of out DNA but the life we live.
by Aletta Mes