A few months ago, I wrote about the American Ballet Theater’s newest principal dancer, the groundbreaking Misty Copeland. Since I’m already a big fan, you can imagine my delight when I saw her spread in this month’s “Harper’s Bazaar” recreating the famous ballet-themed paintings and sculptures of Edgar Degas. In the accompanying article, Copeland has some very interesting things to say about the process of recreating Degas’ Paris Opéra Ballet works:
“It was interesting to be on a shoot and to not have the freedom to just create like I normally do with my body.” –Misty Copeland for Harper’s Bazaar
I found the photos to be really beautiful, but something bothered me about them, and it’s taken me a couple of days to figure out what it is. In Degas’ paintings, the dancers feel to me to be only one element of the scenery. The dancers in the foreground and the dancers and scenery in the background are all given the the same weight, the same importance. His individual dancers don’t stand out from the paintings in the same way that Copeland pops out of the photos. She is just too strong a presence to completely recreate the feeling of the paintings, though no one can fault either the art direction or her perfect poses.
Mind you, I’m not complaining. I think the photos are lovely, and I’m sure you’re going to enjoy them, too.