Curtain Up

July 26, 2010







The world of fashion and the world of dance don’t collide often, but when they do, they set off sparks of ingenuity, elegance, and glamour. In this issue, we bring you two features that reflect this often magical, sometimes thorny, collaboration.


Although dancers excel at moving and models excel at freezing a moment, the camera’s work is the same: to capture that person’s spirit  with flair—and maybe a few accessories. Sometimes I think that all photographers secretly love to work with dancers. In our photo essay, “Stars Shooting Stars,” we showcase three top fashion photographers who obviously feel that way: Annie Leibovitz, Arthur Elgort, and Bruce Weber. They’ve each taken hundreds of gorgeous photos of gorgeous dancers.


We chose a fourth, Sarah Silver, a younger photographer (and former aspiring dancer), to shoot Jenifer Ringer wearing a dress that Gilles Mendel designed for Melissa Barak’s New York City Ballet premiere, Call Me Ben. While watching Sarah work with Jenifer, it occurred to me that a photographer collaborates with her or his subject as surely as a choreographer collaborates with her dancers.


Ever since the Diaghilev era, choreographers and fashion designers have teamed up—with varying degrees of success. In “Fashion Sense,” six current choreographers, including Stephen Petronio, John Neumeier, and Karole Armitage, talk about their experiences collaborating with fashion designers. And if that designer has no experience with dancers, well, you either educate them or you suffer—with annoying wedgies, fabric that you can’t wash the sweat out of, or shoes you can’t dance in. The fun part is that fashion designers know as well as choreographers how to push their imaginations to the brink of craziness.


And for a little spice, check out Adam Hendrickson’s “Why I Dance” on the back page. Adam touches on something that we can all recognize: the craving to be noticed onstage. You might find yourself giggling your way through this one.



Photo by Sarah Silver