Illustration from “The Night Dances”
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About “The Night Dances”

 The Night Dances is my other “pandemic book.”  It is mostly fun, though with a dark undercurrent. It owes it existence to the preceding book,  “Eurydice,” which suggested the approach to this one —the use of  mixed media collage. And it was fun to do!

The lasting appeal of this tale lies in its flirtation with the forbidden  — the secret forays into the Underworld , which is a far more glamorous and festive place than the “real” world in which the princesses are locked in their room each night, to keep them out of trouble.

Of the twelve princesses in the original tale, only two of them come to the foreground —- the eldest, who leads the others on their nightly escapades— and the youngest, whose whose suspicions are aroused  by the soldier who follows them. The other ten sisters have no identity at all. I chose to give them separate identities, and to make each one different, as though they might be half-sisters — which seemed entirely possible.

Although this is a story about repression and subversion, there is much in it to delight the imagination , including an opportunity to represent twelve individual young women in their finery. I decided to retell the story in the second person plural —the collective “we” of the princesses, and, surprising myself, to end it on an upbeat note.