Van Gogh or Velvet Elvis?


     This was an interesting and beautiful weekend. On Saturday I attended the 5th Annual Sumner County MS Walk. I have photographed the activities for my sister Katie, who is the Walk organizer, for those 5 years. I’ll tell more about that in a later post, after I have some images processed. It’s small compared to many ‘Walks’ or marathons, or rallies, but it is VERY large in the sense that it involves people who come together…who volunteer…to take part in helping their friends, relatives, and even strangers to defeat a growing health menace in America.


     I spent all day watching a dance competition in Nashville. My daughter, Hannah, took part in the competition, but the 4 dances she performs are a drop in the bucket compared to the number of other performances that take place….close to 300 in all, over the course of two days…hence the ‘all day’ aspect.

     (BTW, the above picture is from 10 or so years ago. (She’s gonna kill me!) They don’t allow cameras in the competition…selling photos is BIG business for them.)

     Hannah is a part of the ‘team’ at Dancer’s E.D.G.E, owned by Beth Bryson. Beth is also the chief choreographer. ( We have been ‘involved’ with Beth’s teaching….COACHING…for several years, at more than one studio. Her teaching and choreographic styles have created some of the most moving dance performances I have ever seen, amateur or professional.

     One of the dances that this team performs is the FIRST dance performance that has ever brought tears to my jaded eyes.

Barber’s Adagio…..tears…

Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, the letters of Vincent Van Gogh, the births of my children…tears….

But never before a dance routine…

     At the end of the day…or weekend…when the accolades were being handed out, I was shocked by the LACK of recognition that ‘Dancer’s EDGE’ received. They were ‘graded’…um….WELL….but nowhere near what I would have expected. (I am certainly not an expert on dance grading, but I HAVE been paying attention for 12 years or so.)


     When I started analyzing, I realized that the teams that were MOST praised (rewarded) were the ones who performed the big production, “entertain us”, flashy, non-intellectual, Cruise ship/Vegas numbers. (I mean no offense to any of those dancers…I HIGHLY doubt that any are subscribing to this blog anyway)

     There WAS some talent in those dances, in performance AND choreography, but, there is a marked difference between NPR and Carnival Cruise Lines…Van Gogh and Velvet Elvis.

     I know that the EDGE girls were disappointed by the results, but I sincerely hope that a Life lesson can be learned from their weekend, and they, and Beth, will continue to produce quality performances and not give in to the ‘flash’.

Here’s MY philosophical view…and it pertains to more than  dance competitions…

1)Depending on the circumstances, and ‘judges’, sadly, quality(substance) does NOT always win out over quantity (style).

2)Then again, in the grand scheme of things,… Quality ALWAYS lasts longer and has more meaning. You can live without the eyes but you can’t live without the heart.

3)Although it may not be immediately apparent or ‘striking’, thunder lasts longer than lightning. Thunder MOVES you…it shakes your insides…

     My take on the whole experience is “There’s Van Gogh, and there’s Velvet Elvis. Some people don’t care to know the difference, or have tastes that simply lean one way or the other. Some walls ‘need’ a Velvet Elvis hanging on them.

The heart and soul need Van Gogh.






~ by rkpowers on April 12, 2010.

One Response to “Van Gogh or Velvet Elvis?”

  1. I am glad you said that was Hannah. I didn’t recognize her. I thought it was a velvet Elvis.


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