The Art of Movement: Dance Photographs from the Carol Halsted Collection

April 3, 1999 - July 3, 1999

Pavlova, Nijinsky, Baryshnikov, Nureyev, the divine Isadora and many more famous dancers and choreographers will be dancing at the Akron Art Museum for two months in a dazzling exhibition of around 40 dance photographs. These works are drawn from the private collection of Carol Halsted, professor of dance at Oakland University in Michigan. This exhibition is presented in honor of Heinz Poll and in celebration of his 31 years of service to the art of dance.

The show presents not only the art of dance but also that of photography. Halsted's holdings represent nearly a century of dance as captured by the most important photographers of the time, including Margaret Bourke-White, Edward Steichen, Irving Penn, Annie Leibovitz and Henri Cartier-Bresson. Also represented are those who have specialized in images of the dance, including Barbara Morgan, Lotte Jacobi, Philip Trager and Lois Greenfield.

Because dance is an art that uses time, space and movement as its palette and paint, it presents a special challenge to still photography. Photographers working with the restrictions of early technology often created portraits of dancers in character, relying on makeup, costume and expression to convey the mood of a ballet. Others tried to find a single pose that would convey a sense of the dance's motion. In recent times, faster films and lenses have allowed seemingly miraculous images of dancers caught in mid-flight, such as Lois Greenfield's gravity-defying picture of contemporary dancer David Parsons.

Greenfield's image is also an example of the type of partnerships that can grow up between dancers and photographers. Liberating dancers from their on-stage roles, she grants them the freedom to choreograph for the camera's eye. In The Art of Movement, you can not only enjoy the great dances and dancers of the past, but also new creations choreographed specifically for the museum visitor.

This exhibition is generously sponsored by Ruthie and Nick George and Barbara and Ed Koosed.