When I was writing stanzas to abstract for choreography and other creative arts in these two books, I searched for a symbol that would capture the sense of motion and also of transformation. I found such a symbol coincidentally when an iridescent dragonfly visited me on the terrace while I was writing the stanzas and kept returning insistently saying “Use me as the symbol! Try ‘dragonfly diamantes’.” This enchanting encounter turned out to be serendipity.
Afterward, I began to investigate dragonflies to determine if they were a fitting symbol to use for such inspiration, especially for choreographic stanzas that were to be transformed into non-literal movement. What follows is what I learned about this fitting symbol for creativity: the dragonfly.
SYMBOLISM OF THE DRAGONFLY
The dragonfly in most every part of the world symbolizes change –the kind that has its source in mental, emotional maturity and understanding the deeper meaning of life. … The Dragonfly’s scurrying flight across water represents an act of going beyond what’s on the surface and looking into the deeper implications and aspects of life.
Power and Poise
The dragonfly’s agile flight and ability to move in all six directions exude a sense of power and poise – something that comes with age and maturity. The dragonfly can move at an amazing 45 miles an hour, hover like a helicopter, fly backwards like a hummingbird, fly straight up and down, and go to either side–all while flapping its wings only 30 times a minute while mosquitoes and houseflies flap their wings 600 and 1000 times a minute, respectively.
The dragonfly accomplishes its objectives with utmost simplicity and effectiveness. If you look at its proportions, it has 20 times as much power in each wing stroke as the other insects. The dragonfly flies with elegance and grace that can be compared to a veteran ballet dancer.
Defeat of Self-Created Illusions
The dragonfly exhibits iridescence on its wings and its body. Iridescence is the property of an object to show itself in different colors depending on the angle and polarization of the light. This property is believed to show the end of one’s illusions of self and a clearer vision into life’s realities. Iridescence is associated with discovering one’s abilities through unmasking the real self and removing self-doubt. This results in self-discovery and removal of inhibition.
Focus on living ‘IN’ the moment
The dragonfly flies only for a fraction of its life and usually not more than a few months. This style of life symbolizes and exemplifies the virtue of living IN the moment and living life to the fullest. By living in the moment you are aware of who you are, where you are, what you are doing, what you want, what you don’t and make informed choices on a moment-to-moment basis. This ability lets you live your life without regrets like the great dragonfly.
The opening of one’s eyes
The awesome eyes of the dragonfly see 360 degrees–all the way around it. They symbolize uninhibited vision of the mind and the ability to see beyond limitations of oneself.
I hope this has piqued your interest in the marvelous, quixotic dragonfly. Maybe you will want to explore the dragonfly-site.com yourself. Use them as a creative catalyst for lessons that integrates arts and sciences.
All ages enjoy a lesson built around a dragonfly as a symbol for creativity in the classroom. The dragonfly diamante is designed to jump-start such a creative project—either creative writing, creative dramatics, creative dance, original music composition, choreography, improvisation, or a visual art project. Be inspired.
Dragonflies were chosen as the symbol for the original Dragonfly Diamante stanzas written for choreography by Brenda McCutchen over the course of the last fifteen years and published in several books and booklets. The dragonfly symbol is chosen because the concepts in each stanza requires one to see beyond the words in order to discover the movement ideas that lie hidden beneath the words. To abstract the concept requires it to “change” its appearance. It is this type of transformation that aligns with the symbol of the dragonfly.
DRAGONFLY DIAMANTES—Stanzas to Abstract for Choreography (2011) is a stand-alone book of 86 Diamantes to abstract. The book is written for upper level composition classes from middle school through university. As a bonus there are 18 environmental “green theme” poems at the end to present as part of an environmental performance, as structured improvisations, as a theme and variation choreography, or as a composition featuring recycled or re-purposed materials and props. The green poems show the bee as the symbol for environmental mindfulness.
Brenda Pugh McCutchen, author of Teaching Dance as Art in Education creates choreographic stanzas of different types to use as a stimulus for creative arts activity. Her creative books, Dragonfly Diamantes—Stanzas to Abstract for Choreography and Choreographic Impulses prompt others to make their own original works through brief nine-word stanzas. Because they portray “motional” ideas, all ages enjoy reading and responding to the unlikely topics. McCutchen, a former dance professor and a creative artist enjoys prompting others to ignite their own creative fires. She finds joy in making catalysts that spark the creative process for others. She is the driving force behind Dance Curriculum Designs, www.dancecurriculumdesigns.com
Brenda Pugh McCutchen
Dance Curriculum Designs
Columbia, SC USA