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What are you favorite INDIVIDUAL IMAGESamong all the ballet photographs you've seen?


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#1 bart

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 03:13 PM

The thread "Who's Your Favorite Photographer of Dance?" now has 80 posts and over 25,000 hits.

What about individual photographs? What are the INDIVIDUAL photographic images that mean the most to you? Please specify photographer if you know the name. Black-and-white or color. And any other details you can share.

My choices keep changing. I currently have two -- both by Steven Caras. Something which surprises me is that neither depicts actual dancing. Nevertheless, they speak a great deal about the world of dance.

(1) "Last Bow," George Balanchine's final curtain call at the New York City Ballet, July 4, 1982. Color. Balanchine, in double-breasted blue blazer and with a multi-colored scarf tied around his neck, emerges through a parting in the curtain. Bouquets of white flowers are strewn on the floor. Through the parting you can see dancers joining in the applause. One is Sean Lavery and it would be fun to know who some of the others are.

2) Kyra Nicholas and Sabrina Pillars, dress rehearsal for Brahms/Schoenberg Quartet, NYCB, 1985. Two young women, observed as silhouettes rather than in detail, stand behind what appears to be a gauze scrim. They area dressed in romantic tutus and wear point shoes, though they stand on the flat. One girl bends from the waist as if adjusting or repairing the hem of the other girl's skirt. A backdrop of trees seen, as through the mist. Soft, sepia tones. the image is delicate, shadowy but warm. While looking nothing like Degas, this image has the same feel of dancers in the quiet moments before the curtain rises.

#2 papeetepatrick

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 05:00 PM

Suzanne Farrell Finat Curtain Call (1989?), sorry I just looked up the old Joan Accocella piece about Suzanne's book in NYReview of Books, but it didn't have the photo online, and I don't know who made it, but rg will.

Also, there's a princely photo of Peter Schaufuss from an old Dance Magazine, from about the same period. That one was in colour, and I don't have either one of them anymoore, so don't know who the photog was. But I don't know much about ballet photography.

I also had a poster of Farrell in 'Nijinsky' (black and white) when I saw it in Paris, that I put up on my wall there, but I don't have that anymore either. But that was gorgeous and all suppleness of long limbs.

#3 liebs

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 05:54 PM

I have two - both by Paul Kolnick. One is Balanchine with Stephanie Saland - he is working with her in Apollo. The other is Davidsbundlertanzes. Balanchine is downstage center with his arms up seemingly controlling the action like a sorcerer. Farrell is stage left in arabesque about to exit and Martins and Watts are upstage right in mid-exit. Although the dancers are in costume, it was clearly a rehearsal as you can even see the watch on Martins' wrist.

Many years ago, NYCB gift shop sold original prints signed by Kolnick and I bought that photograph. It was expensive and a big sacrifice for me at the time but I've never regretted it as it has always inspired me. It is one of the first thigns I see in the morning and the last at night.

Thank you Paul.

#4 carbro

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 07:00 PM

The New York Times did a big feature on Gelsey Kirkland just before her sole ABT Swan Lake, and it ran a photo of her in a long-sleeved leotard and practice tutu in a lunge-position, back leg easily bent so the calf rested on the floor, her arms in a stylized fifth en haut. I cut the picture from the newspaper and saved it, and years later I presented it to her to sign. She said she had never seen it, but seemed to approve.

Another (by Beverly Gallegos, if I recall correctly) is one of Gelsey alone, taking a curtain call in her Act II Giselle costume in front of the Met curtain. Her arms are raised in a wide, open fifth, and her body is so lifted, it looks like she's about to float into the stratosphere (and her big, radiant smile suggests that part of her is already there). I bought it at the Ballet Shop.

Those are the two that spring to mind immediately.

#5 kfw

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 07:02 PM

The other is Davidsbundlertanzes. Balanchine is downstage center with his arms up seemingly controlling the action like a sorcerer. Farrell is stage left in arabesque about to exit and Martins and Watts are upstage right in mid-exit. Although the dancers are in costume, it was clearly a rehearsal as you can even see the watch on Martins' wrist.

Many years ago, NYCB gift shop sold original prints signed by Kolnick and I bought that photograph. It was expensive and a big sacrifice for me at the time but I've never regretted it as it has always inspired me. It is one of the first thigns I see in the morning and the last at night.

Thank you Paul.

Thanks, indeed.

What a pleasure it is to read that, liebs. I can see myself making the same financial sacrifice and reaping the same inspiration. An online friend sent me that Davidsbündlertänze print about 10 years ago, and it hangs on my study wall. It hangs next to a blurry black and white photo, framed in green wood and bought for 20 bucks in a Russian restaurant going out of business in Harvard Square, of Balanchine and Farrell. A cheap gold sticker on the frame says "Georgy Balanchine." His arms are crossed and held in front of him at sternum level. His eyes are closed and his head is bent to the side. Farrell, behind him, naturally imitates his posture. From their looks, the photo was clearly taken after she returned to the company. I wish I knew what they were rehearsing, but these are two of my favorite ballet photos.

#6 4mrdncr

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 10:22 PM

Men:
1) Crickmay's color pic of Baryshnikov in the studio, taken during the filming of "White Nights". He's in a deep lunge at the barre, it's golden hour lighting, and the line is gorgeous.
2) B&W of Baryshnikov rehearsing "Other Dances" with Jerome Robbins--both in croise (or was it efface?) tendu en avant--from "Baryshnikov at Work"
3)A CU of Angel taken in Central Park. Very indirect lighting. It's one of the few taken of him, where he's not looking at, or seems aware there's a camera. I love the remoteness of his expression. (And the privacy of that remoteness).
4)Roy Round's pic of Marcelo Gomes in "Clear" 4th arabesque fondue in his book "Round About the Ballet". Perfect form, perfect line, perfect dancer.
5) Jesus Vallinas' photo of Angel and Paloma in Act2 of Corella Ballet's "La Bayadere". I want to use if for the film's p.r.

Women:
1) Waldman's picture of Makarova in "Other Dances". I know it's partially the costume, but I love how he captured the impetus of the movement, as well as the form. The picture "flows" across the frame.
2) Makarova in Dying Swan (from her Autobiography). And in Swan Lake from an early '80's LATimes ABT ad. The fragility and strength visible in both pictures by one of the perfect examplars of those roles.
3) Gelsey in "Leaves Are Fading" (I think it's also by Waldman) with Ivan Nagy.
4) Maya Plisetskaya in attitude arabesque in a downspot--from a Bolshoi program book. (Tokyo 197-?)
5) Maya in Carmen from the same program. In pose and look (ie expression, not just costume) , I don't think I've ever seen a better Carmen.

Too many? I've got a lot of wall space. (But mostly I keep them in my scrapbook/photo albums.)

#7 Mashinka

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 03:38 AM

Two photos of Nureyev's Swan Lake Vienna production (1964/5/6?) photographed by Snowdon. They first appeared in one of the Sunday magazines at the time of the premiere, either the Sunday Times or Observer, and were featured in a retrospective exhibition at The National Portrait Gallery in the '90's. Both photos are hugely suggestive of movement as Snowden has used the technique of an in focus central subject surrounded by a swirling corps of swans. In one, the central image is that of Fonteyn, a still, sad, downcast figure amongst the swans and in the second Fonteyn has her back to the photographer and the focus is on Nureyev, with the expression on his face a mixture of love, longing and despair: two pictures that will haunt me forever.

#8 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 03:56 AM

A photograph of George Balanchine that appeared in Vogue Magazine in 1972, I think it was taken in Saratoga. He is surrounded by trees and dressed in what looks like a costume from maybe Pulcinella? and he stands looking at the camera with his arms held low and toward the camera. I don't recall the photographer. But if I were to buy a photo this would be it.

#9 MakarovaFan

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 02:35 PM

A photo of Ekaterina Maximova from Walpurgis Night in grand jete. The radiant joy on her face and the beauty of her jump is glorious.

#10 toeprints

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 06:34 PM

A photo from "Marguerite and Armand" - Nureyev and Fonteyn kneeling - he is kneeling on his left knee, right leg extended; Margot is folded in his arms, kneeling - her right out-stretched arm pointing downward, while Rudi's left outstretched arm is pointing upward. Their expressions and the symentry are exquisite.

#11 bart

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 07:01 PM

A photo from "Marguerite and Armand" - Nureyev and Fonteyn kneeling - he is kneeling on his left knee, right leg extended; Margot is folded in his arms, kneeling - her right out-stretched arm pointing downward, while Rudi's left outstretched arm is pointing upward. Their expressions and the symentry are exquisite.

Yes, I also love this. It helps one to understand what made Fonteyn and Nureyev such a sensation. :wub: http://images.google...t...&tbs=isch:1

#12 atm711

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 03:57 AM

There is a photo of Balanchine and Villella where B. is in fifth position soussou, arms en haut and V. is in the same pose...and I always have a tinge of sorrow for V. who cannot possibly emulate the master. B. is all fluidity and flow, and poor V. looks rather tense.---but there is a photo of Villella I love---by Bert Stern--Bugaku with Allegra Kent.

#13 leonid17

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 02:58 PM

"There is a photo of Balanchine and Villella where B. is in fifth position soussou, arms en haut and V. is in the same pose...and I always have a tinge of sorrow for V. who cannot possibly emulate the master. B. is all fluidity and flow, and poor V. looks rather tense...."

I believe I know the photograph you are referring to.

Photographs only record a split second of an event. Another split second and Villela probably looked entirely different. But you are right that Balanchine's arms are beautiful and together with his stance is a reflection on his early schooling.

#14 bart

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 03:09 PM

That Martha Swope photo of Balanchine and Villella is the cover shot of Robert Garis's Following Balanchine. It's the juxtaposition of Villella (at different stages of this pose, as leonid says) that makes the picture fascinating. Balanchine by himself would be one of the most beautiful dance images I've ever seen.

The photo appears to have been shot on stage and has that Swopeian informality I really love. There are two small, accidental touches that add an element of surrealism,. A white swan figure from Swan Lake Act II sits on the stage behind Balanchine, its neck and head obscured by Balanchine's legs. Meanwhile, a matronly woman in early 1960s white dress, necklace, hat, and high heels, with hand bag hanging from the crook of her arm and a serious look on her face, observes B and V from further upstage.

#15 atm711

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 03:59 AM

Photographs only record a split second of an event. Another split second and Villela probably looked entirely different. But you are right that Balanchine's arms are beautiful and together withe his stance are a reflection of his early schooling.


I'm not so sure about that---what B. shows in that photo cannot be taught; it is something innate. As much as Villella is one of my favorites and have seen him perform during most of his career, I would not attribute fluidity to him.


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