Saturday, August 21, 2010

Twelve Dancing Princesses Project

Nope, not my Twelve Dancing Princesses project either.  (I have mentioned that's the next book that is nearly finished in the SurLaLune series, right?)

Anyway, I have found a few articles and references to an art project centered around The Twelve Dancing Princess. 

Two local artists are hoping the combination of bicycle frames and an obscure fairy tale will someday lead to the former Catamount Elementary School becoming an art center.

From the most informative article, Princesses project a boost to possible Catamount art center by Keith Whitcomb Jr. Great article, but alas, the single picture is almost worthless and I can't find any other pictures of the project.

Three summers ago Arla Foster and Paula LaPorte decided they wanted to work on a collaborative art project. "The Twelve Dancing Princesses," a story published by the Brothers Grimm in "Children's and Household Tales," is a favorite of LaPorte's and serves as the central theme of their project.

Foster said that while there are different versions of the tale, the basic story is that a king can't figure out why his daughters' shoes are worn out in the morning, as he thinks they have been sleeping all night. He offers his kingdom and one princess to anyone who can figure out the mystery within a certain time frame.

The idea to use bicycle frames came from a neighbor having a large collection of bike parts in a pile, which made for an impressive visual, said Foster. Seven of the 12 princesses are complete, with one hanging in the window of Roads & Trails shop on Main Street and two others hanging in the Putnam Hotel.

Even a person familiar with the story would be hard-pressed to recognize the princesses for what they are, said Foster, but that's fine. She said they are examples of abstract art, and some liberties have been taken with the story. The names and themes of each piece, for example, were made up by Foster and LaPorte.

The names "Celeste" and "Terra," given to the princesses that hang in the Putnam Hotel, were provided by the two artists, as was "Nalu" at the bike shop. Foster said the princesses weren't named in the original story and few details about them were given.

One thing Foster and LaPorte know about them is they liked to dance. According to the tale, the princesses were sneaking away at night to party, hence their worn-out shoes. "They're meant to be played with," said Foster. "They're dancers."

Each sculpture is designed to be hung and all have moving parts that are intended to be moved by those viewing them. LaPorte said they are all essentially wired together without the aid of any kind of glue. While colorful, none were painted.

And from the Bennington Arts Guild website:

Princess Terra with her long spike hair and Princess Celeste pouring forth heavenly bodies are now dancing in the windows of Bennington Arts Guild Gallery at 103 South St. In 2009 Arla Foster and Paula LaPorte decided to work on a project together and choose Grimms' Fairy Tale "The Twelve Dancing Princesses." Each Princess starts with an old bicycle frame and then is adorned with whatever Paula and Arla take a fancy to from their vast collections of natural and man-made objects. Each Princess contains the elements of color, motion, and sound. Terra and Celeste are the first of the four Princesses created last summer.

Foster and LaPorte will be continuing their collaboration this summer and hope to have all twelve sisters dancing together in 2011.

This is in Bennington, Vermont, by the way.

Love the concept and hope to see images someday...

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