When a fire completely destroyed the building that housed the National Institute of Flamenco in Albuquerque in December 2013, Dianna Shomaker felt devastated. She and her husband are devotees of flamenco music and dance and were saddened to learn of the non-profit organization's losses. Driving past the wreckage, Dianna was taken with a single pair of flamenco shoes sitting on the curb outside the site. They were badly damaged but the fact that they had survived the fire inspired her. She snapped the photograph at right and went on to create the beautiful visual story that is These Shoes Will Dance Again. She gifted it to The National Institute of Flamenco whose members rose, phoenix-like from the ashes, to dance and play again in new facilities near the University of New Mexico. The painting proudly hangs in their offices.
Here's What Dianna Says About Her Painting:
This painting is about hope and spirit. Ash, flame and darkness surround the fiery flamenco shoes, once so lively, now ruined beyond use. The December 2013 fire left only rubble. The shoes personified that with their form bubbled, distorted, blackened, and warped from the flames. The National Flamenco Institute facility was destroyed but not the dancers. The shoes symbolize that spark of hope and fiery spirit of determination. This painting shows the beginning of hope gradually rising again, breaking through the despair and heartbreak. Their soles began awakening again in this painting. My goal was to personify that process. The farthest shoe is shown fading into oblivion. But, the sole of the closer shoe is still there, entwined with the indomitable soul of the dancer. Gradually the spirit and fire of dance begin to stir. The toe lifts up and the sole tips slightly, bringing strength to that hope and seeks a renewed rhythm, pointing toward a new day dawning, new life within reach. These shoes will dance again.
My husband and I have always been fans of flamenco music and dance. When I heard of the fire and all the community’s sorrow and hope, I thought I must do something to help. When I saw the shoes out on the curb, the burned out shell of a facility behind them, I could do no less than paint them and donate the painting to the Flamenco Institute. I knew the folks who manage it would breathe new life into their efforts to provide the community the joy of hearing, seeing and experiencing their talents once again.
~ Dianna Shomaker, artist