William Zorach's Spirit of the Dance

Curator Andrew Eschelbacher invites you to think about movement and sculpture.

Audio Transcription:

What we're looking at is Zorach taking this traditional subject of sculpture -- a nude dancing -- but if you look closely at the arrangement of the legs, the arrangement of the torso, he plays with anatomical precision. This isn't a pose that you could actually get into. What we have here is the way that the legs swoop in and out, curve up and down, the way that her torso twists and we get this great sense of movement and energy.


One of the remarkable things about Zorach's sculpture here is he's sculpting the spirt of dance. This idea of energy and movement and motion and... and what he's showing us here is the dancer at the finale. The one time where the dancer's not moving. But we get that sense of energy and movement from the lines of the sculpture itself. From the curves.


Sculpture is so inherently static as a medium. Metal, marble, rock, nails if you look around this garden. But what Zorach's trying to do here is capture a sense of energy through his formal devices as much as through the narrative there. And that's one of Zorach's great contributions through this sculpture, the way that he's able to capture this new sense of movement even while working in a medium that's incredibly static.