Ballet to Disco

You’ve seen it at the front of our sanctuary, displayed on the shelf of the screen at the rear of the speakers’ platform. Ballet to Disco is composed of two separate figures, mounted so their complementary positions can be opposed in multiple ways, as intended by sculptor Oliver LaGrone.

LaGrone created the sculpture in 1970 and subsequently sold it to UCH members Lowery and Marilyn McHenry in 1983. In transferring the artwork, LaGrone also provided the McHenrys with a document describing it:
The genesis, or ‘route of arrival’ of Ballet to Disco was one of the simplest I can recall. It first occurred as a nebulous need to ‘make a statement’ around replays of some harmonizing dance patterns and rhythms I’d seen somewhere, sometime, performed by some dancer. It involved a male dancer—doing parts from several dance routines—I believe modified by Joe Cooksey and other personalities of modern and classic dance. As soon as I made the center ‘genesis lines’ of the male in ‘free association’ doodlings—I saw a dynamic dance figure emerging and each spontaneous uncontrived motion of my sketching hand made a positive addition to the representation. Then it was immediately clear that a female figure was needed as the contrast and complement for a ‘whole’ statement.
The McHenrys in 1999 donated this work to the church. It is cast in bronze, each lithe figure later mounted individually as devised by woodworker and then-UCH member John Quimby. The full base is further secured through the platform-screen with a padlock so the two don’t dance away. from The Reporter, July 2022 Unitarian Church of Harrisburg Newsletter by Cordell Affeldt, ed. Bart Carpenter