|Maya Plisetskaya by Irving Penn 1959|
|Darcey Bussell and Cynthia Harvey entertain Arthur Elgort’s daughter, photographed by Arthur Elgort in 1989|
|Jason Schmidt 2011|
|Annie Leibovitz 2003|
What better way to celebrate the reopening of the Bolshoi Theatre, then with Vogue Russia’s “Dance in Vogue” special issue. Closed for six years for extensive renovation, The Bolshoi Theatre is home to The Bolshoi Ballet- one of the oldest and most renowned ballet companies in world. Dance and fashion have a longstanding relationship. Both are preoccupied with beauty and illusion. Historically ballet dancers set trends in fashion. Many legendary photographers- Richard Avedon, Sir Cecil Beaton, Arthur Elgort, Horst P. Horst, Helmut Newton and Irving Penn loved photographing ballet and ballet dancers.
You can imagine my delight when “Dance in Vogue” landed on my desk earlier this fall. The comprehensive special issue features ballet dancers and ballet inspired shoots from numerous Vogues. I love when the various Vogues pool their resources for a project. There are images by the aforementioned photographers and many more. “Dance in Vogue” is a tantalizing mix of stunning photography that’s familiar and fresh imagery. Dancers who revolutionized ballet such as Maya Plisetskaya, Rudolf Nureyev, Diana Vishneva and Margot Fonteyn leap from the pages in beautiful clothing. The sheer volume of couture featured is remarkable.
As you know from this little excursion, I adore ballet. Each page of “Dance in Vogue” features a note from a ballet critic or dancer. In conjunction with the special issue, the Multimedia Art Museum in Moscow recently opened an exhibition by the same name. The exhibition features 120 images from this incredible archive of dance images. A separate part of the exhibition titled “10 Days Before…” features performers backstage just before the renovation of the theatre. The backstage photos juxtapose the beauty of performing with the architectural decay of the iconic Bolshoi Theatre. I credit dance with providing me with my composure and carriage. Sartorially speaking, both are required when you naturally gravitate toward polished silhouettes.
“Dance in Vogue” is a collector’s issue. It’s available on the iPad, but there’s something nice about having the hard copy on thick glossy paper. I’m currently searching (to no avail) for a copy for my personal archive.