Saturday, April 03, 2021

Artwork: Young Hoop Dancer

 My latest artwork, "Young Hoop Dancer." Polychromos color pencils. Apache Junction, Arizona ©Melissa Enderle

Although I've been a part of my family's Yellow Bird Dance group since I was a toddler, performing in front of audiences with the hoop dance is something I've only done in the last few years. It takes a lot of coordination and practice to get those hoops into the different formations such as a butterfly or eagle while at the same time doing fancy footwork, accented by the jingle of bells attached to my sheepskin leggings. Everything– the formations, facial expression, movement, and the homemade costume– has symbolism. My ancestors created the hoop dance to be part of a healing ceremony, but for the past 30 years, our dance group has used a form of the hoop dance to share a bit of our culture with others. I can't grasp as many hoops as my older brother, papa, or uncle, but I'm feeling much more confident with my form. In a couple of weeks, we'll be heading to the Heard Museum for the annual World Championship of Hoop Dancing. Native American groups from all over the country will be competing. My papa, who has used 40 hoops in one dance, is a five-time world champion. Last year I got 2nd place in my age division. After today's performance, I think I can get first place. Wish me luck!

See more of my artwork on my website, on Flickr, or my Artwork Facebook Page.

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Manipuri Dancer: My latest artwork


Manipuri Dancer

Pastels on PastelMat paper
Chennai, India
©2020 Melissa Enderle

The full moon is out tonight. I am playing the role of Lord Krishna as we perform at the Kalakeshetra Fair in Chennai, India. The crowd always loves seeing the love between Lord Krishna and Radha being reenacted. Just like the Bharatanatyam dancers of Tamil Nadu, much emphasis is placed on the hand and upper body gestures I make. We don't wear anklet bells or perform such forceful footwork though. The tube-skirted Radha and I dance gracefully, accompanied by kartal cymbals, a barrel Pung drum, and singers chanting beautiful Sanskrit poetry. As I move about in our courtship dance, the feathers from my headdress and tassels affixed to my arms sway in the humid air. Did our Lord Krishna have as much fun when he courted Radha? I wonder.

Thursday, February 04, 2021

My latest Artwork: Announcement at Ulica 16 Kumanovska

 My latest color pencil drawing Announcement at Ulica 16 Kumanovska. Vranje, Serbia ©2021 Melissa Enderle

It is customary for death notices to be posted on doors as well as public display areas. The highly textured, colored weathered door, along with the announcement, immediately attracted my attention while walking through the town. I had just held a solo art show at the town's American Consulate.