Saturday, 23 May 2009

Dances at a Gathering through Gjon Mili's Eyes

In March I went to see Royal Ballet's revival of Jerome Robbins's masterpiece Dances at a Gathering, an absolutely charming jewel which perfectly demonstrates the harmonious marriage of dance and music, as well as how simple dances (with brilliantly virtuosic steps nonetheless) can be profound and powerful. Set to solo piano works by Chopin, ten dancers explore the potential of dance itself through shifting relationships that also reflect the expressive moods of the music - at times playful and humorous, at times melancholic or romantic. The individuality of each dancer is at the heart of the creation of this ballet, and the result is such choreographic genius that is refreshingly modern even to this day.

For a glimpse into this pure delight of a ballet, here are some dazzling images by the master and inventor of stroboscopic photography, Gjon Mili, for Life Magazine.

Cover photograph of Gjon Mili's book, Gjon Mili: Photographs & Recollections, New York Graphic Society Books, 1980, Boston.

Multiple image of group of dancers in New York City Ballet's production of Dances at a Gathering choreographed by Jerome Robbins, 1969.

Multiple exposure of Kay Mazzo and John Prinz in New York City Ballet's production of Dances at a Gathering choreographed by Jerome Robbins, 1969.

Stroboscopic image of Anthony Blum, Patricia McBride, Sara Leland, Robert Maiorano and John Prinz (left to right) in New York City Ballet's production of Dances at a Gathering choreographed by Jerome Robbins, 1969.

Multiple exposure of Kay Mazzo and John Prinz in New York City Ballet's production of Dances at a Gathering choreographed by Jerome Robbins, 1969.

*More photographs by Gjon Mili on New York City Ballet's production of Dances at a Gathering by Jerome Robbins here.



1 comment:

michiko said...

I have seen that rehearsal clip before on TV but I don't think I have seen the actual performance of 'Dances at a Gathering', I'll ask my father if he has it on DVD or VHS (recorded from TV).
These photos by Gjon Mili are just wonderful, great finds!

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