With a single click, a moment in time can be captured forever. It’s extraordinary, really, when you think about it. Occasions, places, and historical events are preserved by the internal mechanisms of a camera — and the skill and passion of the photographer — providing us with something our own eyes may not see. The click of a shutter can capture something so slight as the breath of a dancer.
Speaking on the art of the performance, the late legendary dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham once said, “You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscript to store away, no paintings to hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that fleeting moment when you feel alive.”
Ken Browar and Deborah Ory have given us, and the dancers they photograph, something to hold on to. They are the founders of NYC Dance Project, which features a stunning collection of 300 photographs of more than 70 elite dancers from companies including the New York City Ballet, The Martha Graham Dance Company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Royal Danish Ballet, Boston Ballet, the Royal Ballet and the Bolshoi Ballet. What began as a personal endeavor for Browar and Ory grew into a full-time professional project that is now, in part, premiering at Lanoue Gallery in Boston’s South End. The introductory exhibition will show seven of these gorgeous large format dye sublimation prints on metal. Six of the female dancers are formatted vertically to 50” tall x 42” wide, and the one male dancer is a large horizontal work measuring 48” tall x 67” wide.
The inspiration for the project began when the couple was attempting to decorate their 13-year old daughter Sarah’s room — she’s an aspiring ballerina and wanted her room filled with dance photographs. After conducting extensive searches through galleries, bookstores and the Internet, they were surprised to find that images of contemporary dancers were in very short supply.
“There were beautiful images of famous dancers from past generations — such as Baryshnikov or Markova, taken more than 40 years ago — but nothing of the current stars,” said Ory.