BMA to feature more than 40 works by Degas Dance: The exhibit "Degas and the Little Dancer" goes on view Oct. 4.

August 31, 1998|By Judith Green | Judith Green,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Ballet dancers held a special magic for the French painter Edgar Degas, whose backstage portraits of the corps of the Paris Opera Ballet are among his most famous pieces.

The Baltimore Museum of Art will feature more than 40 of Degas' oils, pastels, drawings and sculpture in its fall exhibit, "Degas and the Little Dancer," which will be on view from Oct. 4 to Jan. 3, 1999.

Organized by the Joslyn Art Museum of Omaha, Neb., the show includes works from the BMA's collection as well as from the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Philadelphia

Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Art Institute of Chicago and others.

The centerpiece is "Little Dancer Aged 14" (1881), a 39-inch-tall sculpture in bronze of a dance student named Marie van Goethem. It was originally made in wax with a net tutu, fabric bodice, real ballet shoes, hair and colored ribbon, which qualifies the piece as a sculptural collage. Shown at the sixth Impressionist exhibit of 1881, it shocked the art world with its use of everyday materials.

Its subject also caused controversy: According to the rules of the French Academy, sculpture (especially bronze) had been a medium reserved for mythological figures and military heroes. And here was Degas using it for a gawky young dancer.

For information on the exhibit, call 410-396-7100.

For a view of the same subject closer to our own time, the Washington Ballet is showing photographs of its dancers, taken over 20 years by James E. Strickland, at its in-house gallery. "Mirrors of the Spirit -- Windows to the Soul" will be on display weekdays, Sept. 1-30, and the items are for sale.

"The images are quite beautiful," says Judy Keyserling, director of marketing for Washington Ballet.

But, she cautions, "there's very little dance," even though he uses dancers as his models.

The Washington Ballet is at 3515 Wisconsin Ave. N.W., just over the district line from Chevy Chase.

For information, call 202-362-3606, Ext. 120.

Moore named to board

Pamela Moore, artistic director of the National Ballet in Bowie and a longtime examiner for the Cecchetti Council of America, has been named vice chairman of its national board of examiners. She also will be working on a revised music syllabus for the council's examinations.

The council has more than 600 members in the United States and is headquartered in Detroit. It is a U.S. affiliate of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing/Cecchetti Society in England.

These associations use the ballet technique developed and standardized by Enrico Cecchetti, the Italian-born teacher and ballet master who worked for many years with the Maryinsky Ballet, forerunner of the Kirov Ballet.

Pub Date: 8/31/98

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