Let us dance

"Dance is the hidden language of the soul." As said by Martha Graham, I couldn't agree more. For this gallery, I have chosen art that has the theme of dance. Whether classical or spontaneous, dance can speak to all of us in different beautiful ways.  

The Ballet Class, Edgar Degas, 1871 - 1874, From the collection of: Musée d’Orsay, Paris
This painting was created by Edgar Degas between 1871-1874. Degas was a regular attendee of the opera house, where he would not only watch shows, but go behind the scenes to observe. I chose this painting because I enjoy the way Degas portrays the ballerinas here. It seems to be at the end of the rehearsal. Amidst the chaos, you see some exhausted, some still working on their poses, and the teacher observing.
Ballet Essay, Gjon Mili, 1944, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection
This photograph, taken by Gjon Mili for LIFE magazine in 1944, shows five students who attended the School of the American Ballet. They are each demonstrating five different positions in ballet, from first position on the left, to the fifth position on the right. This seems, to me, a raw view of ballet at the beginning of a rehearsal.
Ballet Rehearsal on Stage, Edgar Degas, 1874, From the collection of: Musée d’Orsay, Paris
This painting was created by Edgar Degas in 1874. Because he chose a viewpoint that is slightly higher than the stage and to the left-hand side, we are able to have a clearer, more unique, view of the stage. Here, Degas shows a contrast between the performing ballerinas and the non-preforming ones. I enjoy his use of dim colors in this painting and the fact that there are many different things that one's eye can roam to and enjoy. It depicts a story.
Amer. Ballet, Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1936, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection
This photo was taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt in 1936 for the use of LIFE. These legs belong to ballerinas who studied at the School of the American Ballet. I enjoy the feel of this photo. The anonymous legs let you focus on their posture/position. We gather the fact that this is a ballet lesson or rehearsal. The viewer isn't distracted by their faces and we see the uniqueness of each foot and body.
Children's Modern Dance School, Mass., Lisa Larsen, 1953, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection
This photo was captured by Lisa Larsen in 1953 for the use of LIFE. Here, we see many girls warming up for what we assume is a ballet lesson or rehearsal at the Children's Modern Dance School in Massachusetts. I like the fact that this photo focuses on young ballerinas who are about to get ready to better themselves in their craft.
Fancy Free, Gordon Parks, 1958, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection
This photo was captured by Gordon Parks in New York, New York in 1958. This photo shows the cast of ballet “Fancy Free” dancing in the middle of the street. I enjoy broadway performances, and the fact that they look like they are having a blast with the city of New York as a backdrop is beautiful to me.
"You Never Were Lovlier", John Florea, 1941-08, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection
This photo captured of moment of dance between Fred Astaire and the actress Rita Hayworth in the movie "You Never Were Lovlier". This was taken by John Florea in 1941 for the use of LIFE. Musicals are one of my favorite things, and I enjoy seeing pictures from either behind the scenes or ones that were captured in a moment of shooting or of a rehearsal.
Dancing in the streets, 1945-05-08, Original Source: © IWM (EA 65885)
In this photograph, there is much going on. We see many soldiers, women, and pedestrians enjoying a dance. The credit of this photo goes to the Imperial War Museums. We see that it was taken on May 8th in 1945. The viewer is left to wonder what they are celebrating. Maybe they were celebrating the return of a few soldiers or celebrating them before they left. This piece feels like a beautiful moment in history to me, mixing life and dance together in one.
[Dancers, Queens, Long Island, New York], Karl Struss, 1915, From the collection of: Amon Carter Museum of American Art
This painting was created by Karl Struss in 1915. The only thing I know about it is its title, "[Dancers, Queens, Long Island, New York]". There is no more detail on it. I still chose this work of art, though, because I enjoy its tone and the feel that I get from it. Although the painting is dark and not in an attractive setting, we see three girls dancing. It makes me think that even in dark times, dancing is a thing that can bring joy and transport you to some happier place.
The Dancing Couple, Jan Steen, 1663, From the collection of: National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
"The Dancing Couple" was created by Jan Steen in 1663. This painting shows many things at once. We see a family sitting down for dinner, children playing games, and in the midst of it all, dancing. Although it has been said that the meaning of this painting is to show that we should focus less on things that are fleeting and more on the things that matter (as signified by the church steeple in the background). I take this painting to say that while life is temporary, you should enjoy little things while you can. That is what I believe the couple in the middle is doing as the dance together.
Paul Schutzer, 1960-05, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection
This photograph was taken by Paul Schutzer for LIFE in 1960. It depicts Jewish children dancing Israel folk dances at their religious school during recess. These children seem joyous to me. There is a lightheartedness about the photo that comes from kids being kids.
Gordon Parks, 1951-08, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection
This photograph, taken by Gordon Parks for the use of LIFE in August of 1951, is my favorite. This shows Sidney Bechet and his newly wed wife, Elizabeth Ziegler, dancing at their wedding at the Antibes French Riviera. I chose this photo because it shows that dancing being used for celebration. Amidst all the chaos in the background, you see the wife and husband over everyone. You can see the happiness in the husband's eyes. It's candid because they didn't know that the photo was being taken, and those, I believe, are the ones that truly capture moments and emotions the best. This is simply a couple in love sharing what can connect people; Dance.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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