Why We Dance

Shan Goshorn
Approx 9.5” X 9.5” X 17.5” each Arches watercolor paper splints printed with archival inks, acrylic paint, artificial sinew

I often recruit collaboration for my work through social media crowd-sourcing. When I posted a request asking for responses from members of all tribes to the questions “Why Do We Dance?” the feedback was poignant and powerful. Beautiful words such as “To breathe,” “We dance to connect with those who have walked on,” “We dance for those who cannot,” “To sacrifice, to suffer, to restore the earth and ourselves” and “To Honor” are only a small fragment of the comments that are woven into this basket, inside and out. Ceremonial and even social dancing is sometimes difficult but despite the struggle it is joyful and restorative; it is such a deep, integral part of who we are.

The images woven into these pieces are hand-painted interpretations from black and white photographs I have taken over the last four decades. The traditional basketry pattern called “Water” illustrates the flow of the dance; the stars around the top rim epitomize the hope that dance inspires, keeping our cultures alive and strong. Even though in many of our dances, the men and women join together, I separated them in this set because both female and male energy are necessary to rejuvenate the world.