December 4, 2011

Dance In Vogue

Maya Plisetskaya by Irving Penn 1959
Darcey Bussell and Cynthia Harvey entertain Arthur Elgort’s daughter, photographed by Arthur Elgort in 1989
Arthur Elgort
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.


  1. How lovely :) I lived in Margot Fonteyn's old flat in London for a period - such an amazing space with gorgeous furniture. Pity the landlady was nuts (no relation to Ms Fonteyn) which meant I had to move out after a few months. But I always smiled at the thought that the place once belonged to such an elegant, gracious woman.

  2. Love the subtle surreality of these photos. I've never really thought about the nexus of dance and fashion before...such a nuanced relationship :)

    Hope your search for a personal copy goes well!

  3. Ammu- What an interesting tidbit. I love it. I can imagine that it was an amazing space and the furniture must have been precious. I can also imagine a very grumpy landlady making for a crazy living situation.

    Margot Fonteyn was such an elegant and gracious woman.

    drifterqueen- There's such a subtlety and peace to the photos. You took the words out of my mouth with dance and fashion being "such a nuanced relationship" I almost wrote that last night;)

    I'm hopeful that copies will make their way onto Ebay or Amazon, but so far no luck.I'm checking everyday. Moscow sold out in a matter of days and I even called in a favor to Vogue Russia, but they did a tiny print run and everyone is hoarding their copies because it's a collectors issue.

  4. Ohhh as an previous ballet dancer (professional) I missed this issue and really I can forgive myself. I think I'll have to browse the internet to find it.
    Thanks for telling us.

  5. eveange66- It's such a precious issue for any dancer or anyone who appreciates dance. So special and magical.

  6. so beautiful! acne paper also had a lot of coverage on the bolshoi ballet, which was very well done as well:

  7. Joy- I agree! It's such a good mix of content. I love the idea of commemorating such an occasion with something different and special as opposed to just writing yet another article.

    I saw the Acne Paper article:) Such stunning photography.

  8. Ha - she wasn't so much grumpy as just flat-out crazy, like something out of a Charles Dickens novel :)

    The furniture was insanely beautiful, more than one friend offered to help me steal the massive art-nouveau bed in my room right out of the place ;) Needless to say, I never took them up on their offers.

  9. Ammu- Oh my. What an experience.

    The art nouveau bed sounds beautiful.

  10. How beautiful. Looking at it made me realise how many of the pictures I clipped out from Vogue over the years have to do with ballet, like that one of Tan Yuanyuan.

    You never know when you'll get lucky with tracking down that issue of Vogue Russia, since there are people who will somehow lose interest in these things years from now. I recently got lucky and found a copy of the issue of Vogue Paris Sofia Coppola guest-edited in 04/05. Never thought it would happen but it did.

  11. lin- I know! So many of the images that I return to again and again have to do with ballet. I'm drawn to the precision and pure grace.

    So true about people losing interest as time goes on. I'm glad you were able to track down the Vogue Paris Sofia Coppola issue. I still enjoy looking at that issue.

  12. I love your blog. Such a variety of topics
    but you bring a very elegant style to it all.

  13. Anonymous- Glad to hear that you're enjoying it. I think there's so much style to most things.

    Our Youth- I can't think of any other way to describe it.

  14. Wow what a beautiful editorial! I'd love to see the was still under renovations when I visited a few years ago.

  15. Lovely post and such beautiful photos - I too adore ballet!

  16. How beautiful! Ballerinas are always so graceful! I love the idea of mixing dance and fashion. It's great to see how the clothes work with the art, the music, and the movement.

  17. Katherine- So beautiful! They will be in LA in 2012 (I know it's not the same as seeing them in Russia) maybe a weekend trip with Mr Feather?

    miss b- Thank you! It's hard not to adore ballet. Can't wait for the new season to start.

    Lindsay- So graceful. That type of grace adds instant insouciance to any outfit. I love garments with movement.

  18. Lindsay! I missed you blog so much! I mentioned you on Twitter but I think you didn't see it :)
    This post is amazing. I do ballet for eleven years!

  19. Camille S. - Oh no! I didn't see your mention on twitter:( I just put in a request to follow you on twitter, so hopefully I'll be able to see your tweets now.

    I feel like ballet experience always stays with you. You never lose that grace.