Saturday, May 22, 2021

Artwork: Bharatanatyam Dancer-in-Training

 My latest artwork, a pastel portrait of a young girl performing the Bharatanatyam Dance which originates in Tamil Nadu, India. ©2021 Melissa Enderle

It's the dead of winter in Madison, WI. Along with other teens of South Indian origin, I am performing at the Olbrich Botanical Conservancy. Although the weather is vastly different than that of Tamil Nadu where our ancient dance form of Bharatanatyam originates, this is a great opportunity to showcase a bit of South Indian culture. I take great care to form a complex mudra with my fingers, mindful of its spiritual symbolism. Deep in concentration, I imagine myself performing in a Hindu temple far away in India.

Saturday, May 01, 2021

Artwork: Naxi Erhuang Musician

 My latest artwork: Naxi Erhuang Musician

Lijiang, Yunnan province, China

©2021 Melissa Enderle

It's another humid summer evening in this ancient town of Lijiang. In the air-conditioned of the Naxi Ancient Music performance hall, I sit amongst my fellow musicians all clad in purple embroidered silk robes. Although I am the oldest member, a few of the wizened beards belong to those in their 80's. Next to me is a young disciple of mine who has been most eager to learn how to play the Erhuang. Behind me is a young Pipa player, already confident with the ancient solemn tunes of Dongjing music. Most of the audience members have come to this UNESCO World Heritage town from other parts of our motherland, China. It is reassuring to see that they, like the young members of our band, are expressing interest in the traditional music of my Naxi people. Hopefully, they will help keep this most ancient of music alive, much like I helped ensure it survived during the tumultuous Cultural Revolution. We have just begun a slow, fluid, pentatonic melody. As my eyes begin to close, I am transported to the days of yesteryear when I performed beside my revered father.

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