Wednesday, March 25, 2009

In this entry, I'd like to stray a little bit from class reflection and take a look at ballet as it is portrayed in other art forms.
Ballet, for many, and certainly for myself, is extremely aesthetically pleasing. And it also has an aesthetic that is very familiar in both classic and popular culture.
Every little girl is a ballerina at some point. I don't know how many girls I know that at least took a ballet class or two at the age of 3 or 4. There is just something that attracts many from a very young age to this art.
The long lines, the pale pink satin shoes, the ruffles of a tutu, the romance in the dance, the grace, the strength, etc.
Anyway, when I think about ballet as it is represented in other art, I think the first man my mind jumps to, and I'm sure yours does as well, is Degas.

A french artist in 19th century, Edgar Degas is famous for his portrayals of dancers in drawings, paintings, and sculpture.
Let me just say I was OBSESSED with Degas as a kid. My grandmother took me to see an exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Art and I was hooked. He was not only capturing intimate scenes that were not normally open to the public, but he truly captured the emotion of his subjects.

Here is a link to my favorite 3 Dimensional Piece:

This statue has been both revered and criticized for it's life-like nature.
In February, the statue was sold in London for 23.6 Million dollars.
Here is the article:

Here is my favorite painting:

He had many paintings similar this one, but I've always liked the violinist in the corner.

Somewhat serendipitously, my final performance with my dance studio was called "Portraits of Degas." We emulated both the classic classrooms that he painted (wearing attire like that shown in the painting and dancing with bars on the stage) and some wore very classic performance tutus. It was beautiful.
There are many photographers who have used ballet as their main focus as well, often capturing the sweat and blood of the art in photos like this:

I think the photography really portrays an interesting juxtaposition that exists in ballet. Beautiful but painful, flowing and effortless in appearance, but requiring so much strength and work.
I shudder when I remember how many blisters I used to have on my feet.

In the end, I think ballet really has a lasting affect as an art form in itself, and as an influence on artists in other medias.
I know I myself have and will continue to look to ballet for inspiration!

1 comment:

  1. Yes - one of my favorite things about ballet is that it is so otherworldly and often so ethereal - the narrative ballets with their magic and archtypical characters - the princess, the prince, the villain - there is something fleeting and unattainable and filled with longing...I also think that Degas captured some of those qualities with his pictures - but you make a great point that the beauty is juxtaposed with the hard work and pain (physical and emotional) it takes to make it look that way...