Overheard in the Galleries: Septime Webre on Degas

Washington Ballet Artistic Director Septime Webre discusses Degas's Dancers at the Barre. Photo: James Brantley

At a recent Phillips after 5, Septime Webre, artistic director of the Washington Ballet, provided a dancer’s point(e) of view on the Degas exhibition. At Dancers at the Barre he observed, “You see that this work is not about rehearsal. It’s about the moments in between rehearsals.” For Webre, Degas’s tendency to return to the same subjects ten times, or even a hundred times, reminded him of the dancer’s daily routine and the process of working and reworking movements to achieve harmony in the body. Webre quoted choreographer Merce Cunningham, who famously stated that to be a dancer “You have to love the daily working.”

Backstage Glamour: A Ballerina’s Perspective on Degas

This week, October 12-16, The Suzanne Farrell Ballet at the Kennedy Center celebrates its 10th anniversary with two mixed programs each featuring Balanchine’s Diamonds. In honor of the engagement, principal dancer Heather Ogden shares her thoughts on Degas in this guest post.

(left) Heather Ogden. (right) Edgar Degas, Ballet Rehearsal, c. 1885–91. Oil on canvas, 18 7/8 x 34 5/8 in. Yale University Art Gallery. Gift of Duncan Phillips, B.A. 1908.

This past summer I took a trip to Paris with my husband and one of the many things we saw was a Degas exhibit.  As soon as we arrived at the museum I bee-lined to the Degas section because I knew I would love it.  I have always admired the paintings of Degas because the subject of his paintings is most often about my first love . . . ballet. Continue reading “Backstage Glamour: A Ballerina’s Perspective on Degas” »