The use of ballet in photography is a very special genre. It can be looked at in one of two ways in my opinion. One being documentary snapshots... a slice of time which cannot possibly convey all that is going on during a dance. At best it might imply something. Studio shots are almost the equivalent of passport photos... of publicity shots.
Another type of photography using ballet as a subject attempts to use the dancers, the graphic composition, light and shadow, the ability to closely examine the human form much the way a painting is a visual statement. The purpose is completely different... and it is not meant to be ballet. It is meant to be PHOTGRAPHY. All photography has some subject... dancers and ballet happen to be one of many.
When we look at objective art paintings we don't dismiss them as irrelevant because they fail to accurately portray movement or show the effect of time, of gesture and so forth. They are not meant to be "life"... they are meant to make us think about the subject, the visual, and things "implied" by the artist.
Ballet photography is not meant to be Ballet... yet it is referential and can be very powerful and evocative of the emotions, as for example, in story ballet. Or it can be something which is visually stunning like a marble sculpture of Michalangelo or Bernini. Denby were these sculptors doing with that stone and chisels?
Photography of dance is meant to be different from film or videos of dance... which are really only "facsmiles" of an actual performance. No one would even claim that a video or film of a performance comes close to being "art". It's not meant to be. But some ballet themed photographs are definitely elevated to the level of art. It's meant to be art.
I would refer readers to view some of Gene Schiavone's work;http://www.geneschia...incipal-Dancers
especially his black and white photos as the one mentioned above by drb. I don't know who Denby is, but he needs to spend some time with some of the photography of Mr. Schiavione and others, and I remind him of the painting by Rene Magritte who addressed the very concept that Mr Denby is so blind to, The Treachery of Imageshttp://en.wikipedia....i/Rene_magritte
What is really quite amazing about some ballet photography is the ability of a single still image to "transport" the viewer and capture some of the power of ballet. This is the genius of great ballet photography. It's rare, but it's there. Look for it!