Harper’s Bazaar just did an amazing photo-shoot with rising star Misty Copeland, the first African American Female Principal Dancer with A.B.T., channeling the famous Degas ballerinas in Designer dresses of Valentino, Roberto Cavalli and Alexander McQueen.
Misty Copeland in Valentino – photoshoot By Haper’s Bazaar
Why are Degas paintings still popular today?
I love the paintings of Degas, as his works transport us into the inner sanctum of the ballerina. As observers within the Paris rehearsal rooms, we see the dancers as they really are – authentic, hard working and totally focussed on their bodies and their movement. The smallest details reveal themselves within the paintings – the rustle of a skirt, the quiet word of the ballet master to correct a movement or the preparing for an arabesque.
It’s a world away from the performance stage where the dancers appear perfect and totally in control.
Misty Copeland says in an interview:
“Ballet dancers like to be in control. It’s something about ballet itself—the painstaking quest to achieve the appearance of a kind of effortless athleticism, fluidity, and grace—that makes it hard to let go. I think all dancers are control freaks a bit. We just want to be in control of ourselves and our bodies. That’s just what the ballet structure, I think, kind of puts inside of you. If I’m put in a situation where I am not really sure what’s going to happen, it can be overwhelming. I get a bit anxious.”
“Trying to re-create what Degas did was really difficult. It was amazing just to notice all of the small details but also how he still allows you to feel like there’s movement. That’s what I think is so beautiful and difficult about dance too. You’re trying to strive for this perfection, but you still want people to get that illusion that your line never ends and that you never stop moving.”
I think Misty Copeland did an awesome job. She made Degas ballerinas alive in these beautiful designer dresses and brings us back to the time of ballet at Opéra Garnier in Paris 140 years ago.
EXHIBITION: The Museum of Modern Art in New York is exhibiting Degas starting from 26 March 2016.
More about Degas’ Art
Edgar Degas (19 July 1834 – 27 September 1917), born Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas was a French artist famous for his work in painting, sculpture, printmaking and drawing. He is regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism although he rejected the term, and preferred to be called a realist. A superb draughtsman, he is especially identified with the subject of the dance, and over half his works depict dancers. These display his mastery in the depiction of movement, as do his racecourse subjects and female nudes. His portraits are considered to be among the finest in the history of art.
Here is the article of Harper’s Bazaar for those who want to read more
MISTY COPELAND AND DEGAS: ART OF DANCE