A Dance to the music of Time

And so to June, and Cinderella.

I have just bought a retro musical box from ebay, complete with dancing figurine. Anyone who knows me might be a little surprised by this, and even more surprised by my delighted reaction when it arrived. You could say that I’m not particularly girly, though this might be an understatement. I recently spent an evening making tiaras (yes, sparkly ones with pink and white crystals, lots of hearts and pretty things) with our local brownie pack. My children and many friends fell about in stitches at the very thought and I know that many of them reading this will be smiling all over again at the memory. This is for them:

Fluffy tiara

Fluffy princess tiara

And yet… I really did feel excited receiving this musical box. There is something just a little bit magical about turning the key, making the music play and watching the ballerina dance. I would like to believe that this has less to do with my inner princess and more to do with the ability to create music and movement using clockwork and pins. I have always  found movement fascinating, from the displays in the Science Museum that ran when a handle was turned or pulled through to wind-up toys and marbles. I love the kinetic work of  Bandhu Scott Dunham, particularly the marble runs.

The version of Cinderella that we mainly see these days has lots of movement potential, from the sweeping of Cinders’ broom to the rolling of the carriage, the dancing figures in the ballroom to the ticking of the clock. I’d like to use this month to play with movement and moving figures.

But.. to go back to that musical box.. Cinderella ends up as a princess. Beauty and grace win the day.  The whole story has been used so often as an excuse for pretty costumes, ballgowns, dainty shoes… and that just isn’t for me. I know also that for me to attempt anything that requires precision or a degree of accuracy in order to work is just not practical. Whatever I make will need to use movement in a non-technical sense. No 63 degree angles, no well-fitting joints and definitely no measuring! Motors are a possibility but I am also aware that it would be very easy to over-complicate. I think this could be quite a challenge.

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