The word “ballet” may immediately evoke images of delicate, precise figures twirling in tutus of white and pink. However, that archetypal costume dates only to the Romantic period, perhaps 200 years ago, a fraction of ballet’s five centuries of history. The Romantic ballet of the early 1800’s, epitomized in classics such as Swan Lake, emphasized fantastic themes, evanescent fairies marking the first appearances of pointe shoes and tutus, “the woman reduced to a pure spirit, all white, Venustic, body sublimated and free from gravity.”
So what, my darlings, does this prosaic imagery have to do with today’s ghostly header image? Meet the English National Ballet. Under artistic director Tamara Rojo, they are actively campaigning to change public perception of ballet from fragile music box figurines to something more primal, capturing the gritty heart of expression at the center of the dance. With the accompanying film Hallowed by Chris Turner, the still images above and in the gallery below are from a English National Ballet editorial with Twenty6 Magazine. Photographed by Charl Marais, the dancers are dark, primal, weaving together in an modern danse macabre inspired by classical notions of Heaven and Hell. Give this one a watch, lovies, if the visions that dance through your head are a bit more ghoulish than any Sugar Plum Fairy could ever be.
– Orient Express: A Century of Costume Inspiration
– In the Gray Wood-Mist: Denise Grünstein’s Dark Fairy Tale Photography
– Eerie Photography by Amber Ortolano
Categories: Art & Inspiration
I think my insides just leaked out from excitement
Yay! I’m going to take that as one heck of a compliment! 🙂
This new production does seem to be fascinating, but as a lifetime ballet dancer, I can say it’s not precisely a new thing. Ballet companies have been doing modern ballet for years. I’m not sure if this director isn’t calling it modern ballet or they’re veering off from the established genre (which hasn’t been around long enough for that, I don’t think). You might enjoy some of the darker works out of modern ballet out there.
Oh, I’m always fascinated by an inside view, thank you for commenting! I wouldn’t say that it’s really new, just that Rojo is taking a particularly aggressive approach with this campaign. Personally, I’m a bit of a traditionalist, but I’ll watch just about anything that catches my eye.
It’s not really changing a whole lot, just adding. I was traditionally trained (Nutcracker and all), and don’t care to dance modern ballet, but I like it more than I like contemporary dancing. I suppose I’m traditionalist as well. 🙂