Ballet News Reviews | Ballet in the Studio
Introduced by Dutch National Ballet Principal Jozef Varga, Ballet in the studio by Rob Becker is a beautifully produced photography book with a difference.
Firstly, there’s a barre running through it. Almost every image is studio based, and the dancers were free to show their creativity, so what you see are not ‘ballet poses’ necessarily, although some are, but rather an insight into the dancers of the company.
Secondly, with a few exceptions a studio-based photography book usually contains images from rehearsals – after all, that’s usually the sole purpose of a ballet studio within a professional company – but these are not. There’s a joy and a sense of freedom through the pages.
I’ve always been fascinated by the way that a camera (or rather, a skilled photographer), can freeze a moment in ballet that would otherwise be lost, and so it’s rewarding to see images published that are exactly those moments, and in another context, away from the rehearsal/performance angle.
Sandwiched between the studio images is a set of headshots, beautifully produced on gorgeous paper (as is the whole book), and the shots reveal the trust Becker earned in the studio with the dancers. They are vulnerable, interesting and real.
According to Becker, a music photographer, “ballet is a lot more rock ‘n roll than people think,” with its classical coating that disguises the effort and sheer physicality involved. How did the book come about ? Becker collaborated with a few company dancers; the photos were posted online (not by him) and were popular, and the idea of a book became real. You can read the full interview, A Saturday morning conversation, at the end of the book, and I thoroughly recommend that you do.