BWW Reviews: MARTHA SWOPE: THE REHEARSAL EXHIBITION By Trudy Garfunkel

Related: Trudy Garfunkel, George Balanchine, New York City Ballet, Marhta Swope, NYPL, Dance Photography

MARTHA-SWOPE-THE-REHEARSAL--20010101

Martha Swope: THE REHEARSAL EXHIBITION REVIEW by Trudy Garfunkel

Photographic Exhibition Captures Behind-the-Scenes Worlds of Theater and Dance

For nearly four decades (1957-1994), Martha Swope was America's pre-eminent photographer of theater and dance, her discerning eye chronicling hundreds of classical ballets, modern dance, and Broadway performances and performers. But she also went behind-the-scenes, documenting what audiences never get to experience-the creative collaborations that make the magic on stage possible: rehearsals.

Now, an exhibition of her rarely seen rehearsal photos at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, gives us a glimpse of what she saw--the hard work, energy, and craftsmanship that make great art a reality. It is an illuminating visual record. As a photographer who also had studied ballet, she had a unique understanding of movement and process, an understanding that served her well in photographing dramatic plays, Broadway musicals, and dance performances on stage and in the rehearsal studio. Her ability to capture essential moments is evident in many of the visual images presented here.

Martha Swope: THE REHEARSAL (on view until January 26, 2013) celebrates this aspect of Martha Swope's life work in more than 100 (mostly) black and white photographs. Here are Merce Cunningham coaching New York City Ballet's Carol Sumner in his Summerspace (1966); Arthur Mitchell and Diana Adams rehearsing Agon before its creators, Igor Stravinsky and George Balanchine (1957); Erik Bruhn and Mikhail Baryshnikov rehearsing La Sylphide for American Ballet Theater (1975); Martha Graham setting her portion of Episodes at NYCB (1958); Savion Glover, Gregory Hines (in midair), and director George C. Wolfe practicing a dance number from Jelly's Last Jam (1992); Peter Gennaro demonstrating moves from West Side Story's Dance in the Gym sequence. Also from West Side Story, a photo of Jerome Robbins, Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, Stephen Sondheim, and other members of the creative staff in a studio before the premiere in 1957 (this photo, Ms. Swope's first published credit, appeared in Life magazine and was the start of her professional photographic career); Harold Prince and Patti LuPone backstage at Evita (1979); Geoffrey Holder directing Stephanie Mills in The Wiz; Michael Bennett sharing a laugh with the cast of A Chorus Line. Other iconic stage figures shown in rehearsal include Liza Minneli, Chita Rivera, Jack Lemon, and Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Complementing the photographic display are books, magazines, calendars, and programs that featured Ms. Swope's work.




More On: Martha Swope, Arthur Mitchell, Diana Adams, Igor Stravinsky, George Balanchine, Erik Bruhn, Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Comment & Share

Related Links
Megan Fairchild Joins Faculty of Allen Civic Ballet's Summer Program, 6/10-12Megan Fairchild Joins Faculty of Allen Civic Ballet's Summer Program, 6/10-12
April 24, 2014
Virginia Arts Festival to Welcome Dance Theatre of Harlem & Richard Alston Dance Company in MayVirginia Arts Festival to Welcome Dance Theatre of Harlem & Richard Alston Dance Company in May
April 23, 2014
BWW Reviews: Balanchine and the Lost Muse Presented by Elizabeth Kendall and Troy SchumacherBWW Reviews: Balanchine and the Lost Muse Presented by Elizabeth Kendall and Troy Schumacher
by Marjorie Liebert - April 22, 2014
The Chicago Dancing Festival Returns for Its 8th Season, 8/20-23The Chicago Dancing Festival Returns for Its 8th Season, 8/20-23
April 21, 2014
New York City Ballet Celebrates 50th Anniversary at Lincoln Center with Spring Gala on 5/8New York City Ballet Celebrates 50th Anniversary at Lincoln Center with Spring Gala on 5/8
April 17, 2014


About Author

Subscribe to Author Alerts
Barnett Serchuk Editor-in-Chief of Broadwayworld Dance.



BWW Reviews: BALLET HISPANICO at The Joyce Is a Celebration of DanceBWW Reviews: BALLET HISPANICO at The Joyce Is a Celebration of Dance

Subscribe for News & Specials

BWW Reviews: LeSaar The CompanyBWW Reviews: LeSaar The Company
by Barnett Serchuk