It’s always a tremendous thrill to have a book published. Really, there’s nothing like it… that sense of accomplishment that you’ve created something worthy of a publisher’s imprint and the public’s interest. The fact that you may have contributed something of value others might appreciate for years to come is an extraordinary feeling.
Inside the Dancer’s Art is my sixth book and represents the culmination of thirty years as a dance photographer and writer. This collection of photographs of dancers accompanied by quotes from the dancer’s themselves draws back the curtain on one of the most misunderstood art forms. Here, the dancers speak with extraordinary candor and wisdom about the dancer’s life and art.
I found dancers to be astonishingly articulate. The myth that they move because they are incapable of speaking couldn’t be farther from the truth. Ballerinas, b-boys, butoh artists, tappers and tango dancers —no matter the movement style, they spoke poetically and eloquently with understanding and clarity of the complexities and challenges they face as purveyors of the dance. Most confessed that without it their lives would lack focus and meaning. All of them agreed that dance was the most valuable investment of their lives.
Dancers are also the most open and transparent of artists. In order to perform their art they must expose themselves, in fact they can’t help it, because they are their own instruments. To dance, is to put one’s body, mind and spirit on display. What we see when we watch them on the stage or screen transcends choreography and character, technique and style. We see them—their true identities projected through stylized movement phrases, athletic leaps and jumps and graceful gestures and poses.
It’s been said, “movement doesn’t lie,” and I think this is precisely what attracts dancers to the art form. They know that in order to connect with audiences they must reveal themselves heart and soul. It is the realism that makes their art accessible and believable.
Dance is one of the most immediate ways that we communicate what’s important to us as human beings--our history, faith, culture, and worldview. In this book, we see the dancers presented in portraits and action shots, but we also have the opportunity to hear their thoughts and feel their emotions.
I hope you’ll venture inside the dancer’s art as I did for a truly unique experience.