Work by Jacqui Milbourne :: Poem by Gerda Stevenson

textile art

The Flyting of the Red Shoes and Blue Shoes

Moira Shearer, born Dunfermline, 1926, died Oxford, 2006; internationally renowned ballerina and actress, famous for her starring roles in the legendary ballet film The Red Shoes and in The Man Who Loved Redheads, in which she dances the Charleston in blue shoes.

From Quines by Gerda Stevenson

Artist’s statement

Title of work: Dancing Down, Down

Memories of seeing the lovely Moira Shearer in the film ‘The Red Shoes’ prompted me to choose this poem for interpretation into a textile piece and many possible ideas presented themselves. These gradually solidified into one main theme: structure and rhythm, both of which give rise to movement.

A poem has a structure which, in this poem’s case, has a clear rhythm. Read out loud that rhythm becomes clear, almost musical. Music too, especially when composed for a dance, has a rhythm constructed to aid and guide a dancer’s movements. Written on manuscript paper the pattern evokes feet dancing across the page. A dance is developed following a designated pattern. The construction often appears quite mathematical when set out on paper, being both repetitive and rhythmical.

The construction of a shoe requires precision and is based on the measurements and proportions of the human foot. Understanding the manner of how and where a foot bends, how it rises and falls, underlies the construction of a shoe and movement. These in turn lead to the development of a dance, a dancer and so onto a poem about the dancer herself.