Los Angeles Ballet Dancer - 4-12 1-25

Models: Premier Dancers from the Los Angeles Ballet Company

Shoot Date:  Spring 1983

In early 1983, Alfred Sole and Barry Krost, the Artistic Directors, for the Los Angeles Ballet Company approached me along with several other LA based photographers to participate in a special project the ballet company was producing. The project was aptly named ‘Los Angeles Photographers, Photograph the Ballet ‘

This was intended to be a traveling gallery exhibition consisting of images that were visually inspired by the ballet. I agreed to participate, and pointed out that I’d like to photograph their dancers posing in the nude.

Not only was my controversial concept well received, but I was offered full access to the dancers and their facilities. Of course, it was suggested that I gain each dancers permission first. No problem.

After attending several rehearsals, I approached the dancers I thought would make good subjects, based on their physiques and overall attitude. These were all exceptionally talented and experienced professional dancers, and were open to my concepts for portraying them.

Interestingly enough, even though they had all been photographed numerous times, it appeared that nobody had ever asked them to pose nude before.

Ballet dancers train for years, honing their musculature into a specialized physique that’s needed for classical dance.They were truly appreciative and eager for the opportunity to document their bodies without clothing.

I decided not to photograph them in their more familiar environment of a complexly lit stage, but rather isolate them into a studio setting using a traditional cloth backdrop and only one light. Nothing else to distract their audience.

I did several long studio sessions with various dancers over a month’s time. And spent  several more weeks in the darkroom, producing final prints for the exhibition.

The highly publicized and well attended Hollywood event turned out to be a Black Tie, Gala Opening at the Bernard Jacobson Gallery on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles

Many of these images were also featured in a two man show at the Neikrug Gallery in 1986 along with manipulated Polaroids by photographer.Michael Going

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