CityDance Rehearsal with Christopher K. Morgan

Get a sneak peek at Snapshot Confidential: Dancers and Photography with these photos from the rehearsal. Choreographer and artist-in-residence at CityDance Christopher K. Morgan provides insight on the dancers, lighting, and props in the captions below. See Snapshot Confidential this Thursday, March 15 at 6:30 pm. 

Artistic Director Christopher K. Morgan works with dancer Meghan Pilling in rehearsal for Snapshot Confidential in the auditorium at the Phillips Collection.

Dancers Junichi Fukuda, Tiffanie "Fi" Carson, and Shannon Braine, in rehearsal of the opening section of Snapshot Confidential.

(Left) Dancer Tiffanie "Fi" Carson works with light and photographs for a section of Snapshot Confidential. Inspired by how the painters featured in the exhibit began to experiment with framing and lighting their subjects in photographs, Morgan's dance will explore the use of light and shadow. (Right) Dancer Meghan Pilling in rehearsal for Snapshot Confidential. The visual imagery in the exhibit inspired the use of props for the dances.

Dancers Junichi Fukuda, Meghan Pilling, Tiffanie "Fi" Carson, and Shannon Braine, in rehearsal for Snapshot Confidential.

Early Ballet Films

Degas thought of himself as a painter of movement. As lovely as his paintings are, his dancers are frozen in their poses, beautiful bugs in amber. What if we could go back in time to watch a performance?

When motion pictures were invented, the camera was focused on anything that moved – trains, people, horses, and yes, dancers. There are no movies of ballet dancers during the late 19th century, but there are a precious few of ballet during the early 20th (close enough). With film, a famous dancer with the Royal Danish Ballet could be watched anywhere over the globe, or, a century later, delight us over the internet.

La Sylphide solo 1903

Pas de Deux 1902

Dance exercises at the barre 1920

And this beguiling couple….
Geltzer & Tikhomirov, husband and wife in the Bolshoi Ballet – Pas de Deux

This last performance reminds that, aside from the dance master, there are no male dancers in Degas’s ballet scenes. This recalls Gauguin’s paintings of Tahiti, in which there are few, if any, men depicted. Was Degas, like Gauguin, creating his own private paradise?

Ianthe Gergel, Museum Assistant

From Synchronized Swimming to Step Afrika!

Step Afrika! dancers perform in response to Jacob Lawrence's The Migration Series at Phillips after 5. Photo: Charles Mahorney

Last August Director Dorothy Kosinski agreed to judge the Washington Project for the Arts‘s second synchronized swimming competition at the Capitol Skyline Hotel. Little did she know she was about to meet C. Brian Williams, fellow judge and founder and executive director of Step Afrika! The conversations started poolside on that sunny day came to a culmination last Thursday night during the museum’s Phillips after 5.

As Brian has shared here, Step Afrika! and the Phillips collaborated to create a dazzling marriage of the performing and visual arts. In June, Step Afrika! premiered The Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence inspired by Jacob Lawrence‘s The Migration Series in their Home Performance Series.

Last night, the dance troupe performed excerpts from the show at Phillips after 5. Brian told me it was Step Afrika!’s first presentation in an American art museum, and I’m so pleased it happened at the Phillips. The stage come to life from the percussive energy of the dancers, and they awed the crowd! The audience clapped and sang along with the dancers; they gave the performance a standing ovation–something I’ve never seen happen in our auditorium.

I’m looking forward to seeing our stage come alive again when we collaborate with the Washington Ballet for programs related to our upcoming Degas exhibition!