When you see the sculpture for the first time, you stand transfixed in awe at its size and magnitude. It is the centerpiece of The Park and one of the newest additions to the Strip. As the days lose their horrid heat and life becomes more comfortable and cooler amid the concrete, it’s likely that tourists and locals will spend more time in the sculpture’s shadow.
American sculptor Marco Cochrane created the hard-to-miss Bliss Dance, the 40-foot-tall statue of a dancing woman near T-Mobile Arena between New York-New York and Monte Carlo. Marco said:
“When I created this statue, Bliss Dance, my hope was that all who see her would be impacted not only by her scale and beauty, but also her message, which is one of feminine strength and power.”
Bliss Dance is the first sculpture in The Bliss Project, a series of three monumental sculptures of a woman, Deja Solis, expressing her energy, power, purpose and voice. Marco tells the story behind the sculpture and his recent reunion with the Las Vegas resident who was the subject of his art:
“I am proud to see this message become a permanent part of Las Vegas’ iconic history. I grew up in Northern California in the 1960s and ’70s in the philosophical revolution and turbulence of those times.
“I learned to appreciate feminine energy, influence and strength and realized that the objectification of women imprisoned women as well as men. I saw first-hand that one person, or a small group of people, can start a movement that can make a difference and change the course of history.
“The story behind Bliss Dance really began when I was 7 years old with my friend, Dejas, who was 9. There was a sexual assault in front of my house. I was told about it in way too much detail. It was incomprehensible. I didn’t understand.
“I was shocked when it seemed like no one did anything about it. I have been working on solving this problem ever since. In my 20s, I began to explore sculpting and discovered my ability to capture human emotion.
“About this time, I read Joseph Campbell and was struck by the passage, ‘Follow your bliss, and doors will open where you never knew they existed.’ It was on the birth of my daughter that everything I had been working on and thinking about came together, and I realized that my bliss was to carry my message through art.
“Self-taught, for more than 20 years I sculpted in clay and cast in bronze primarily women who chose their own poses. I hoped that capturing the expression of the feminine voice would change human consciousness around violence against women, ultimately making room for women’s voices and resulting in a balance of energy that will allow all of us to thrive.”
Burning Man inspiration
“In 2007, I attended Burning Man and was inspired to take my art and Campbell’s message in a new direction. I just did not yet know how. In 2009, I returned, and it was then that I realized how I could enlarge my sculptures to monumental proportions while maintaining their integrity, magnifying their impact.
“From her debut at Burning Man in 2010 to her installation on Treasure Island in San Francisco from 2011-2015 to her permanent home where she illuminates The Park with 2,500 LED lights, Bliss Dance has embodied my mission of de-objectifying the female body, expressing appreciation for feminine energy and strength, and inspiring an end to violence and oppression.
“On a personal level, I recently reconnected with my childhood friend, Dejas, who I discovered now lives in Las Vegas. That 7-year-old boy that I was, and the adult man that I am now, are thrilled that she is finally able to witness the support of her story every day.
“I believe the key to finding real lasting solutions to the problems we are facing now is bringing feminine energy into balance with male energy: a global shift already underway. I am honored to have partnered with MGM Resorts International to share the story of Bliss Dance.”