PrettyRedShoes: Off With A Bang
This, the first entry of a blog about creative writing, is a long time coming for me. I’ve decided to use the first entry to answer two basic questions: 1) what’s the purpose of this site and 2) why is it called PrettyRedShoes?
P U R P O S E
Upon deciding to create this blog, I knew that discussing writing alone was not nearly enough to cover my personal interests nor would that topic alone cover ideas and concerns dealing with the publishing of creative work or the teaching of writing, so I decided to expand my scope, and the purpose has developed into as follows: PrettyRedShoes is a website / blog that seeks to promote helpful & meaningful discussions about navigating the vast topic of creative writing: the writing itself, the teaching of writing, and the various avenues of publishing. PrettyRedShoes also seeks to feature current writers & their creative or critical work.
W H Y P R E T T Y R E D S H O E S?
In 1948, Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger released The Red Shoes, a major motion picture starring the beautiful Moira Shearer. Adapted from Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale, The Red Shoes follows Victoria Page (Shearer), an aspiring and driven young ballerina whose passion for her art (intensified by a pair of red shoes) gives way to lunacy and eventually leads to her demise.
The scene in which the dancers perform The Red Shoes ballet is one of the most moving and well-crafted moments of cinematography of all time. This scene is set up as though the performance is taking place on a stage in an opera house, but because this is part of a movie, the ballet takes place on a movie set. Therefore, the dancers have set designs to dance in and out of. The camera and the dancers weave through the 120 hand-painted scenes (painted by Hein Heckroth. Winner of 1949 Oscar for Art Direction-Set Decoration), creating a far more dynamic and moving ballet performance than what can be traditionally accomplished on a stage alone. The same can also be said of the special effects (namely when Shearer jumps into the red shoes at the beginning of the performance).
For lovers of movies, ballet, or art in general, this sequence (and really the whole movie) is a must see. I’ve included an excerpt below.
Shearer’s red pointe shoes (both as she dances point in the performance and later as she dies on the train track below the theatre) are some of my earliest memories. Why was I watching such a long and mature movie at such a young age, I do not know. Though I do know that my love for ballet and art has been lifelong and certainly was a part of me years before I wrote my first poem or story. And over the years, the blood red shoes have wielded their way into a kind of metaphor that I both admire and fear. A metaphor for art, for the artist, and for the tight rope we walk between sanity and lunacy. A metaphor for the art of creative expression and how that creative energy has the power to break us or make us whole, strangely sometimes both in the same sitting. For me, the red shoes are a symbol and living mascot for this art, this strange, pertinent blood red art.