The thrill of movement

Mikhail Baryshnikov presents an exhibition of his photographs that feature numerous international artists.

October 17, 2012 11:52
2 minute read.
baryshnikov photograph

The thrill of movement. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Throughout the course of his illustrious career in the limelight, Mikhail Baryshnikov has collaborated with celebrated dance artists from a wide range of movement genres. In recent years, he has been known to arrive at the dance studio with a camera in tow.

Next week, the famed dancer and actor will pay his third visit to Israel, opening an exhibition of his photos at the Suzanne Dellal Centre in Tel Aviv entitled “Dance My Way,” with photos of numerous international artists. The exhibition is open to the public and is free of charge.

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Although he is not giving interviews to the media, Baryshnikov agreed to send us a few words describing his experience as a photographer:

“For two decades I used a conventional 35mm camera and practiced traditional landscapes, portraits and travel shots in primarily black and white. I made a point of rejecting obvious opportunities to photograph dance, thinking the results were boring and unnecessary. Then, going through some old books of dance photography – notably Alexey Brodovitch’s Ballet and Paul Himmel’s 1954 Ballet in Action – I discovered that abandoning the crystalline image in favor of blurred edges and amorphous figures approximates the excitement of dance in performances. Ilse Bing’s mesmerizing images of Can Can dancers at the Moulin Rouge, as well as her photos of Balanchine’s Errante, and perhaps most importantly, the recent images of Alexandra Beller in Dancer by Irving Penn were further evidence that the thrill of movement can be captured without being destroyed. Edwin Denby describes this process eloquently in the text accompanying Brodovitch’s photographs.

‘…the blurred outline of the dancer, assimilated to the general dim effect, registers as a metaphor of motion. Sometimes the misty shape that joins successive points through which the dancer’s body has passed astonishes you by the clarity of its graphic design, and it illustrates the plastic continuity of dancing. Here and there the contrast on a picture between blurred and clear outlines draws your eye to the position of a still figure that on stage might have passed unnoticed in the hubbub but that in the photograph reveals its momentary pathos.’

“So it was possible.

“I am flattered to have been invited by the Suzanne Dellal Centre to take part in this auction whose proceeds will help to provide continued support to Israel’s vibrant dance community. The thought that my photographs could help to further such a wonderful cause brings me immense happiness.”


The photo exhibition runs Wednesday through October 27 at the Suzanne Dellal Centre in Tel Aviv.

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