Published: February 17, 2004
George Platt Lynes Photographs of the Balachine Dancers
“Pas de Deux: George Platt Lynes Photographs of George Balanchine and His Dancers,” an exhibition of photographs from The Kinsey Institute’s renowned art collection on view at the Neuberger Museum of Arts February 29-May 2 features 30 works by the Twentieth Century American photographer George Platt Lynes. “Pas de Deux” includes portraits of George Balanchine, the legendary Russian-born choreographer who co-founded the School of American Ballet and New York City Ballet, and many of his favorite dancers – including Vera Zorina, Maria Tallchief, Alexandra Danilova and Mary Ellen Moylan.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of Balanchine’s birth and the exhibit invokes memories of his transformation of classical ballet. Balanchine upturned the fundamentals of the 400-year-old language of academic dance by heightening, quickening and streamlining its style and energy. All the major classical ballet companies throughout the world now perform Balanchine ballets. This exhibition provides the opportunity to view a series of commissioned images that depict a major artistic figure at work with the dancers he made famous.
Lynes is probably best known today for his male nudes, but in the 1930s and 1940s, Lynes was one of New York’s most successful fashion and portrait photographers. His work was influenced by Surrealism and visual interpretations of mythology and Greek legends. Lynes met Balanchine in the 1930s and photographed him and his dancers through the early 1950s. In 1956, following Lynes’ premature death a year earlier, Balanchine hailed the photographer’s work as “all that will be remembered of my repertory in a hundred years.”
The exhibition is organized by the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction, and the Office of Research and the Dean of Faculties Office at Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind. It is presented at the Neuberger Museum in conjunction with the Purchase Dance Corps Spring Concert at Purchase College. The concert, featuring choreography by dance masters, old and new, will be presented at The Performing Arts Center, Purchase College on April 23, 24, 30 and May 1 at 8 pm, with matinee performances at 3 pm on April 25 and May 2. Tickets will be on sale at the box office. Ticket prices are $15 general admission with discounts for students and seniors. For information, 914-251-6200.
In honor of Balanchine 100, the Purchase Dance Corps will be performing “Serenade,” choreography by George Balanchine ©The George Balanchine Trust. Conservatory of Dance ballet faculty member Bettijane Sills, a former soloist with the New York City Ballet, who has worked with the master himself, will be the rehearsal director of this work.
The Neuberger Museum of Art is at Purchase College, State University of New York, 735 Anderson Hill Road. For information, 914-251-6100 or www.neuberger.org.
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