A Humorous Bow to Degas

Today’s Post by Mildred Alpern

There is beauty in the impressionist paintings and drawings of ballet dancers made by Degas. He captured their grace, but also their awkwardness in moments of stretching or tying a lacing. He recognized the moments when the ballerinas showed their natural selves. With Degas in mind, I attended a children’s ballet recital, invited to take some photographs of the young in their final semester class.

For an hour, costumed in pink leotards and bedecked with a yellow flower in their hair, they pointed toes, twirled, leaped, and bent their bodies in all directions exhibiting nimble and enviable elasticity. Posted are a couple of outtakes, scenes of charming efforts where each child seemed to be dancing to a personally created choreography of mid-air leaping and landing. In another movement, with floating ribbons in hand, they took off in individual flights of fantasy.

Attentive to the privacy of children, I restricted my selection to images showing forms but not clearly identifiable faces. The adult teacher, however, deserves recognition for the glowing performance of her students, each of whom received a Certificate of Perseverance. Photos selected and printed for family attendees show coordinated and synchronized movements in well-practiced routines. I suspect that the dream of being a ballerina starts here for some early novices.

All images were photographed with the Olympus E-M5 Mark II and the Olympus M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro lens in Shutter Priority Mode; the upward leap at 40 mm with an exposure of 1/500 sec at f/3.2. +1/3 EV and ISO 2000; the ribbon dance at 21 mm with an expire of 1/200 at f/2.8, +1 2/3 EV and ISO 800; the teacher at 34mm with an exposure of 1/200 at f/2.8, +2/3 EV and ISO 800.


Mildred’s book Haiku and Images is available on Amazon and is filled with beautifully reproduced color photographs along with original haiku underneath, embellishing the image and deepening its meaning. Pick up a copy to give as gift for yourself or a friend.