The creative impulse is strong

Hail, bounteous May, that doth inspire

Mirth, and youth, and warm desire!

John Milton


Sunshine overhead and a chilled breeze coming across the Fens from the East on this May morning. No dewy idyll but two hundred children aged 7 to 9 assembled and forming a rectangle, lining the school’s netball court. They are expectant of visiting Morris Dancers who will perform their May Day dance.

The dancers along with their two accordionists take their place.

The dance begins.

The children clap along.

Some move partnering their neighbour in response.

The dancers introduce their stick-slapping into the musical texture.

The children maintain their lively attention.

Now time for the children to come into the performance arena to dance the two-step patterns in lines at first, before moving into circles.

The circles work best.

The event comes to a close.

The children file back to their classrooms.

At break time impromptu dances erupt around the playground.

Gestures awaiting refinement.

Is not gesture at the root of all art making, all artistic creativity? Do not what we understand as discrete artistic formulations arise through the refinement and extension of gesture? Do not dance, drama, vocal/instrumental performance, mark making, drawing, painting and the shaping of materials arise from the life of the undifferentiated gesture so readily available?

On this May morning the creative impulse is strong.

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