Tag Archives: Jordan Matter

5 Dance Exhibits to Love

As February draws to a close there’s no reason to stop that loving feeling. This year brought about a change in perspective for me regarding February; since I’ve never been wild about Hallmark Holidays, why not celebrate love–in all of its forms– for the entire month? Love feels good, doesn’t it? In the spirit of keeping love alive for all of February, I’ve searched for new dance-related things to love. This week we’ll close out the series by looking at 5 Dance Exhibits to Love. Enjoy!

Love Sky/Cielo del amor by CosasdeKike

Love Sky/Cielo del amor by CosasdeKike

Making Art Dance: Backdrops and Costumes From the Armitage Foundation. Karole Armitage, the “punk rock” ballerina, shares a new retrospective of her costumes and set pieces for the ballet, theater and film. Curated by former Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art director Jeffrey Deitch, the collection highlights innovative choreographer’s collaborations with fashion designers like LaCroix, Jean Paul Gaultier and Donna Karan’s Peter Speliopoulos, as well as with artists and filmmakers including Donald Baechler, Alba Clemente, Jeff Koons, David Salle and Philip Taaffe. Housed at Jersey City’s Mana Contemporary’s Glass Gallery, the show is a short PATH train commute from New York City — and a chance to check out this 50,000 square foot exhibit space designed by Richard Meier that opened last year. It’s also home for Armitage’s current troup, Armitage Gone! Dance. The company took up a residency in Mana Contemporary’s main building adjacent to the gallery.

Through March 13 at Mana Contemporary, 888 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, New Jersey;manacontemporary.com

National Museum of Dance: Jacques D’AmboiseThis exhibition pays tribute to 2014 Hall of Fame Inductee, Jaques d’Amboise, whose determined spirit saw him through years of ballet training and countless hours of rehearsals with choreographic luminaries such as George Balanchine. His positive outlook has led him to become one of the premiere dance educators in the country. While you’re visiting the museum, take in other ongoing exhibits, including Dancers in Film, a retrospective of some of cinema’s finest footwork, and Richard Calmes’s Dance Magic photography exhibit.

Dance Theater of Harlem’s 40 Years of Firsts. Originally an exhibition at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts in 2009, the exhibit is still just as relevant today….and available to travel. Highlighting Dance Theatre of Harlem’s 40-plus year history, this magnificent exhibition celebrates the history and art of dance with 22 costumes, set pieces, videos, photographs and tour posters from four staged ballets including: A Streetcar Named Desire, Creole Giselle, Dougla and Firebird. This multi-media exhibition captures the majesty of the choreography, the beauty of the costuming, and the dancers who defied gravity and stereotyping, and celebrates the history of Dance Theater of Harlem, a company that began when Arthur Mitchell –inspired by the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.–wanted to make a difference; by doing what he knew best. He brought the art form of ballet to Harlem. With a modest beginning, holding classes in a warehouse on 152nd Street, the school has greatly expanded and since grown into a multi-cultural dance institution. Visit the official website of the Dance Theatre of Harlem for further information.

Dancers Among Us. Jordan Matter made headlines when he became inspired to search for serendipitous dance moments out in the world. He photographed dancers in showers, snowbanks, New York City streets…even subways. This project became a passion and eventually a book, Dancers Among Us. Matter’s exhibits have since toured the world, most recently Seoul, Korea, and he’s now at work on a book about circus performers. Stay tuned.

 JR. In 2007, (with Marco), he did Face 2 Face, the biggest illegal exhibition ever. He’s known for creating “Pervasive Art” that spreads uninvited on the buildings of the slums around Paris, on the walls in the Middle-East, on the broken bridges in Africa or the favelas in Brazil…. although he isn’t really known: French street artist JR prefers to remain anonymous. He’s come a long way from his humble beginnings– he got into photography after he found a camera in the Paris subway. 

JR was a featured resident artist at Lincoln Center where he photographed the NYCB, and went on to continue working with ballet dancers, this time on the roof of the famous Palais Garnier, one of the homes of the Paris opera in a photo-shoot for the French magazine Madame Figaro. The spread features 40 dancers, over 180 feet above ground, the poses remininiscent of the classic musicals of Bubsy Berkley. 

Most recently, in the three years after he called for a “participatory art project” at a TED conference in Long Beach, California, his Inside Out Project has become one of the most ambitious and appealing art projects in the world. The art project has expanded from the streets and villages across the globe, to installations in places like Lincoln CenterTimes SquareEllis Island and the Paris Pantheon.  

Feeling intrigued? Inspired? Awesome! JR wants you…There’s an open call on his website where anyone can get involved.


5 Dancers-Turned-Authors To Love

5 Dance Films To Love

5 New Ballets To Love

Dance in May: What to Watch, Read and See

May is a month of celebrations… think May Day, Cinco de Mayo, Mothers’ Day… it’s also my birthday month, so I feel extra celebratory. With that attitude in mind I put together a few of my favorite dance things for you to watch, read and enjoy for May.

WATCH: Photographer Jordan Matter has put dancers in the public eye by, well, putting them in public. As often as possible. Maybe you have already seen his book, Dancers Among Us, a photographic masterpiece that weaves dance into everyday life, where professional dancers are photographed on the beach, at a construction site, in a library, a restaurant, a park. Matter started his Dancers Among Us project by asking a member of the Paul Taylor Dance Company to dance for him in a place where dance is unexpected. So, dressed in a commuter’s suit and tie, the dancer flew across a Times Square subway platform.

One of the first questions anyone has about these incredible dance images is how does he do it? Followed by what kind of equipment does he use? (Nikon D3S with a 14 to 24 2.8 lens, 85 millimeter and 28 millimeter 1.4 lenses and the 70 to 200 2.8 lens for you shutterbugs).

Here Dancers Among Us goes around the US in 90 seconds:

Here’s a fun video of Matter’s trip to Paris with Houston Ballet, including the first glimpse of many new photos. French photographer Gin Pineau (ginibee.fr) saw is post on Facebook last fall and asked if she could bring her camera and observe the shoot, and then she put together this awesome video.

FYI, Matter is hard at work on a cool, new project, Circus Among Us. Check out his new site for more info


READ: Life in Motion by Misty Copeland. As the only African American soloist dancing with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, Copeland has made history in the dance world and beyond. When she discovered ballet, Misty was living in a shabby motel room, sleeping on the floor with her five siblings. Her entry into the world of ballet was miraculous: she danced en pointe within three months of taking her first dance class and performed professionally in just over a year: a feat unheard of for any classical dancer. But when Misty became caught between the control and comfort she found in the world of ballet and the harsh realities of her own life (culmi­nating in a highly publicized custody battle), she had to choose to embrace both her identity and her dreams, and find the courage to be one of a kind.

With an insider’s unique point of view, Misty opens a window into the life of a professional bal­lerina who lives life center stage: from behind the scenes at her first auditions to her triumphant roles in some of the most iconic ballets. But in this beautifully written memoir, she also delves deeper to reveal the desire and drive that made her dreams reality.

In this interview, Misty speaks about her past and her present star status:

SEE LIVE: Alonzo King LINES Ballet Spring Home Season, MAY 21-25, 2014


Breaking the mold of what ballet can be, Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet is like no other ballet company I’ve ever seen. I am not a dance critic (and don’t pretend to be) so let’s leave it this way: If you have never seen them you are doing yourself a disservice. This season, King presents a world premiere, combining sophisticated modernist choreography with the physical elegance of the LINES Ballet dancers to stunning effect. The Spring Season also features a trilogy of iconic sections from King’s body of work.

This season’s events include an Opening night performance and after party and post performance talks with Alonzo King.

May your month of May be filled with many good things.

 More Incredible Dance Photography books

Further reading on San Francisco ballet companies


Dance Photography Books = Eye Candy

There has been a sudden plethora of cool dance photography books lately. I always feel compelled to share good books… especially good books about dance… and more especially good books about dance with pretty pictures.


In the book Ballerina, created to support his wife, Linda, who has advanced breast cancer, Bob Carey appears in a pink tutu — and only a pink tutu —. Says Carey, “The Tutu Project began in 2003 as a lark. I mean, really, think of it. Me photographing myself in a pink tutu, how crazy is that?” It was a big idea created by well… a big man (he’s 200 lbs). Carey appears at famous landmarks and bright, glitzy settings-all united by a singular theme: a man in his pink tutu bearing all in support of his wife and others with breast cancer. Net proceeds from sales of Ballerina go to The Carey Foundation, which was established by the couple to help people cope with financial burdens that often accompany the disease. “After years of talking about the project, it’s really happening—and I’m tickled pink,” Carey says.

Jordan Matter says the concept for Dancers Among Us evolved from watching his young son playing with trucks, completely absorbed in the moment and his fantasy world. The photographer wanted to create work that touched upon those feelings of wonder and living in the moment. Shortly thereafter, Matter attended a dance performance and knew he had found his collaborators. The photographs capture dancers in action in a variety of urban and rural settings, from train tracks to idyllic country scenes. Thus far, he has photographed members of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Mark Morris Dance Group, American Ballet Theatre, Paul Taylor Dance Company and Aspen Sante Fe Ballet, along with Broadway legend Bebe Neuwith, to name a few among many.  

Dancers are found charging through Times Square, back bending on Madison Ave., whirling on a merry-go-round in San Francisco or reaching for sea gulls on a Sarasota, Fla., beach. It’s the visual truth too, he uses no digital manipulation. Here’s how he does it:













Henry Leutwyler was working as a celebrity and fashion photographer in Paris when he was he was offered the opportunity to photograph Jorge Donne, a principal dancer with Bejart Ballet… and bitten by the dance bug. He moved back to New York in 1996 and was hired by New York City Ballet to document repertory pieces. One assignment turned into several more, and eventually he won permission to take pictures backstage, in class and rehearsal. The result is “Ballet: Photographs of the New York City Ballet,” a weighty tome that offers a revealing view of the life of one of the world’s most prominent ballet companies. His secret? “To completely blend in, to become invisible.”

View a slideshow of images from this book here