When I was little, like most little girls, I had a serious passion for ballet. My family’s yearly December tradition was to go to the Nutcracker at Lincoln Center and I LOVED it. Everything- the costumes, the staging, the lights, the music and especially the dancers captivated my little mind to the point of obsession. Sometimes at home, I would put on the record (geez I sound old) of the Nutcracker soundtrack and then dance around the house practicing my way to my dream career. My obsession was so great that one year I even dressed up as the sugar plum fairy for Halloween (BEST COSTUME EVER).
While I don’t dance anymore, I still have a great love for ballet and especially the New York City Ballet. You may also know I have a love of art. Which was why I was so excited when I recently came across Henry Leutwyler’s photos in New York Magazine. Leutwyler was granted a behind the scenes glimpse of the company during the early winter of 2012. He worked almost like a ghost, photographing a side of the art form that is rarely seen. The result is a collection that captures the contrast between the magic of the art of ballet, and the difficult sacrifices for perfection.
Of this first photograph the artist says “If I had to title the picture, I would call it Reality and Dreams. The foot en pointe is what every little girl dreams of. The other is the hard, hard work, and the reality.”
And I think this quote perfectly captures the essence of the photos as a larger group. Here are a few other favorites:
All of these images are now captured in his book Ballet and also in an accompanying exhibit from now through January 6th.
What do you think? Do you love these images as much as I do? Or do you prefer only the polished beautiful end result of ballet without knowing the gruesome details? I think for me, these images give me an even greater appreciation of the art form.