As New York City Ballet launches its 75th Anniversary Season, the company will present SlowDancing/NYCB, a large-scale video installation by artist David Michalek, that will be displayed each night from 18 September until 1 October on the façade of the NYCB's home, the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center.
The installation will feature more than 50 hyper slow-moving images of 20 of NYCB's dancers performing famous moments from 30 ballets in the company's repertory: from George Balanchine's Apollo and Prodigal Son, created in 1928 and 1929 respectively, to one of the Company's most recent creations, Justin Peck's Copland Dance Episodes, which premiered in January 2023.
Each film captures a movement sequence of approximately five seconds, recorded at 1,000 frames per second, and played back over 10 minutes. “In what might be thought of as durational dance photography –says Michalek – these glacially-paced short films operate in a realm between action and image, animation and immobility, theatre and painting.” The films will be displayed in a continuous loop on a triptych of screens, each measuring 12m (40 ft) by 8.5m (28 ft) from 7 pm to 11.30 pm.
The exhibition has been conceived by Michalek and Wendy Whelan, NYCB's Associate Artistic Director, to commemorate NYCB's 75th Anniversary Season, which will open at the Koch Theater on Tuesday, September 19, and continue for 25 weeks of performances that will take place from September 2023 until the summer of 2024.
Michalek's first iteration of SlowDancing was presented in the same location in July 2007 by the Lincoln Center Festival with images of more than 40 international artists performing varying dance styles. The New York Times called it “an unforgettable dance meets-technology evening… a revelation of energy, phrasing, stillness and style.” The installation later travelled to museums, galleries, and public spaces in more than 40 international locations, including Harvard University; Los Angeles Music Center; Trafalgar Square; Venice Biennale; and Berlin's Gendarmenmarkt.
“As we begin our 75th Anniversary Season – said Whelan – I am thrilled that in addition to the works that our amazing dancers will perform on stage each night, audiences outside of the theatre will also be able to enjoy many of these same artists and our extraordinary repertory in this incredibly unique medium.”
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.