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Degas Dancers - how has ballet evolved?

Royal Ballet dancers Lauren Cuthbertson and Leanne Cope bring Degas' pictures to life with the help of ballet mistress Ursula Hageli.

By Tom Nelson (Head of Audience Labs)

1 December 2011 at 10.39am | 3 Comments

Impressionist artist Edgar Degas is known primarily for his paintings of dancers. No other artist has such an association with the art form. Critics however, have claimed that Degas was a ‘chocolate box’ artist – his work is pretty to look at but lacking in depth.

The current exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement, challenges these assumptions – showing that his portrayal of movement was extremely experimental and radical. The artist successfully used photographic techniques and challenged established ideas of both subject and artistic technique.

Working with the Royal Academy of Arts, Royal Opera House Insights developed an event to bring art to life in the ballet studio and explore how the art form has developed over the past 150 years. The event proved hugely successful, selling out within a matter of hours. We wanted offer all those who missed out on tickets a chance to catch up with an edited version of this entertaining and informative event. You can watch it here.

At the Royal Academy of Arts, prima ballerina Darcey Bussell joined Kevin O'Hare (Administrative Director, The Royal Ballet) to talk about her career in front of the lens. She recalled working with world famous photographers such as Mario Testino and the challenges of capturing the essence of dance in one still image - a conundrum Degas faced throughout his career.

Listen to this interview

You've got until 11 December to catch the exhibition - don't miss it!

There are also a range of related resources on the Royal Academy website

By Tom Nelson (Head of Audience Labs)

1 December 2011 at 10.39am

This article has been categorised Ballet, Talk and tagged art, Degas, exhibition, insight, painting, talk

This article has 3 comments

  1. Elisha Nilsen responded on 1 December 2011 at 3:22pm Reply

    Wow great video!
    Leanne is so darling!

  2. patricia dugle responded on 23 December 2011 at 12:08pm Reply

    Who is the composer of the music at 04'40?? (battements tendus, battements jetés)
    Thank's a lot!

    • Tom Nelson responded on 3 January 2012 at 2:37pm

      Hi Patricia,
      It's a piano arrangement of Ponchielli's La Giaconda - Dance of the Hours.
      Best Wishes

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