Dance View Times: Catching the Movement

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By Eva Kistrup – Copenhagen Report

Fine art ballet photograph of a group of dancers wearing flowy garments

Ingrid Bugge: “The Essence of Ballet”

The photo artist Ingrid Bugge has joined a movement of Danish and International arts photographers trying to capture the magic of Royal Danish Ballet. She has spent almost two years getting close to the art form and that shows in her book and exhibitions, which manage to combine the documentation of the dance in progress with the artistic view.


In the last years several arts photographers has worked with the RDB. Paul Wesolek did an exhibition of “La Sylphide” in the nude. Gregers Heering made an exhibition of his work at the Hotel D´angleterre and most importantly, John R. Johnsen’s groundbreaking photos of RDB and other international company was exhibited at the Royal Library and made available in a book and on the Royal Library home page.


The interest from the photographers is understandable. Ballet makes good photos, but the result all depends of the eye and plan of the photographer. The Heering exhibition showed prettified pictures, but clearly Heering had not bothered tying them to the original work of art. A picture of the key moment in Ohad Naharin’s “Minus 7” where the dancers sits on chairs in a half circle and repeating the same movement pattern again and again to a Jewish repetition song, clearly a statement on Jewish history, is inserted in a heart shape. In my view not a fair interpretation of the ballet in question.


Ingrid Bugge does manipulate many of the photos in her book, but here the manipulations are used to emphasize the movement, a still photo cannot give. A picture of Gitte Lindstrøm as Lady Capulet is constructed of many shots of her developee in the beautiful red signature dress, thereby giving us the full sweep of her steps. Gudrun Bojesen sylph is captured three times in the same frame, but Bugge has placed her in the right sequence and sizes and thereby capturing her flight over the stage in tune with the real experience.


There are also many “clean” photos, including a beautifully lighted series of Marcin Kupinski as Apollo. In her picture from Romeo & Juliet she interpolate other characters from the ballet in her pas de deux shots of Ida Praetorius and Gregory Dean, cleverly using the concept of the diaphanous back drop and more importantly remind that Romeo & Juliet are not the captains of their own fates.


Her understanding and interpretations of the art form and the individual works gives her book and exhibitions more depth and relevance for a ballet audience as well as opening the door for a new audience.


The book includes text in Danish and English, include a personal memoire by Nikolaj Hübbe and is available in a limited edition at a very reasonable price. Get here here.

Photo: Gitte Lindstrøm as Lady Capulet Copyright(c) Ingrid Bugge