Celebrity portrait photographer Mark Mann celebrates the release of his new coffee table book Movement at the Still Point: An Ode to Dance with a one-night-only star-studded evening of dance at the Joyce Theater in New York, tomorrow, Monday 10 April 2023.
The book offers a multi-disciplinary and multi-generational look at dance covering ballet, modern, tap, hip hop, contemporary, tango, and musical theatre with dancers from New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Broadway, Martha Graham Dance Company and more.
The book has just been released in the US and features 142 dancers, all captured in Mann's studio in New York. The photographs are united by the same neutral backcloth, the use of black and white, the casual framing with stands, walls and windows visible, but the element that makes this book special is the inclusion of older dancers, and together with photos of jumps and leg extensions are intimate portraits of the artists.
Mann began shooting the New York dancers in February 2021 and this determined some of his artistic choices as social distancing was necessary at the time, so his 120mm lens came in handy!
Photographing dancers for the first time brought some surprises. After years of relaxing chitchat with Hollywood stars and American presidents, he found that dancers (at least for the shots in movement) would direct themselves, often moving to music they'd brought along to the shoot.
Choreographer Loni Landon helped Mann turn his lens from personalities such as Barack Obama, Jennifer Anniston, Bradley Cooper, and Rhianna to her friends and colleagues from the New York City dance community.
For almost thirty years, I've made a living from photographing portraits of people, and finding the perfect moments of stillness – says Mann – When our first dancer Rena Butler came into the studio in February of 2021, I was speechless. I realized I was watching a performance tailored exclusively for my camera and for the first few minutes I was so captivated that I actually forgot I was supposed to be taking photos. In that moment, as I began to photograph, my whole life as a photographer was turned upside down.
Over the next nine months I learned to capture movement in single frames, following my intuition on when to press the shutter. Together, we remedied the isolation and the lack of human connection brought by the COVID pandemic. We danced, we laughed, and we shared a vulnerability that had been taken from us. The privilege of dipping my toe into the dance community will stay with me forever, and it is my greatest pleasure to celebrate the artists of this book both on the pages of this book and on the stage of the Joyce Theater this Spring. I can't think of a better way to honour their talent, resilience, and voice.
The 240 pages of the book show Tiler Peck, Chita Rivera, Misty Copeland, Andy Blankenbuehler, Sara Mearns, James Whiteside, Carmen De Lavallade, Kyle Abraham and many others. Bringing the dancers off the page and onto the stage, the Joyce Theater evening includes performances from New York City Ballet's Sara Mearns, Megan LeCrone and Georgina Pazcoguin, Martha Graham Dance Company principal's Lloyd Knight and Xin Ying, Broadway's Skye Mattox, Karla Garcia, David Guzman, Ricardo Zayas, Morgan Marcell, Ryan Vandenboom, and Curtis Holland, Argentine Tango dancers Dardo Galletto and Alonso Guzman, tap artist Evan Ruggiero, and many more in a generous line-up. The evening will travel from Fosse to Balanchine
TICKET AND VENUE INFORMATION
Movement at the Still Point: An Evening of Dance will be held Monday 10 April 2023, at the Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue, accessible by the 1, A, C, E and L trains.
Tickets start at $75 and are available at https://www.joyce.org/movement-still-point-evening-dance
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.