The marble sculpture titled La Guerrier Danse (the sacred dance or the war dance) by Victor Ségoffin is displayed in Musée d’Orsay, Paris.
Talk about intertextuality and connections between Europe and Asia, this sculpture comes to my mind. This is a sculpture of a woman dancing or that’s what I thought it to be until I clicked the button on audio guide and keenly listened to it.
The audio guide described the feminity of the sculpture as shown by the bust and the smooth, graceful movements that are encaptured by the master sculptor. It then pointed out the masculine face, and other features such as the stiff shoulders and arms, before pointing out the dance to be somewhat similar to the dance of Shiva, a God in Hindu religion.
Shiva is also known as Ardhanarishwara, a composite androgynous form of Shiva and Parvati. He is a God who manifests that both masculine and feminine features are part of a human body. The idea depicted in the sculpture is also similar.
I was also reminded of ‘Dance Like a Man,’ a modern Indian play by Mahesh Duttani that tries to break the stereotype that only women can dance and dance emasculates men. If you haven’t read it yet, you must.
I say, don’t dance like a man or a woman but like how you feel it…