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Photographer Henry Leutwyler's Ballet

Swiss born Henry Leutwyler is a photo school reject. He taught himself the anatomy of a camera and all the chemical processing fun a darkroom has to offer—praise the film gods for that! He made the move from Paris to New York City at the age of 25, and quickly developed his forté in celebrity portraiture. For the past four years, using only his 35mm Leica, the photographer has been collaborating with Peter Martins and the New York City Ballet, documenting behind-the-scenes and studio portraits of the dancers. Leutwyler and the NYC Ballet turned out to be such a perfect artistic alliance, that they kept him around for years and years to come. His latest book, Ballet: Photographs of the New York City Ballet is personal photo diary chronicling his era of ballerinas. For those who would like to enjoy his Ballet photography on the skate ramps, you're in luck because he's created some outstanding decks for your inner skater ballerina.
April 18, 2013
Promenade of the David H. Koch Theater

The Ballet's Crown Jewels

New York City Ballet goers will be treated to a healthy dose of design this season. The NYCB commissioned three New York–based studios to create seating areas for the Promenade level of the David H. Koch Theater, allowing attendees to mingle in legendary architect Philip Johnson’s "jewel box" before each performance. Asher Israelow, Egg Collective, and Token were selected to take on the project and each produced collections worthy of the iconic space.
October 17, 2012
Chroma at the San Francisco Ballet

Chroma at the San Francisco Ballet

Last week I caught the stunning dance Chroma at the San Francisco Ballet. Choreographed by Wayne McGregor with a set designed by the famed British minimalist architect John Pawson, Chroma is enjoying its second run in San Francisco and is on until February 25th. I had a chat with the S.F. Ballet's technical director Christopher Dennis about Pawson's work and the surprising chromatic variation the production—surprising because nearly everything is white or flesh toned—achieved through the lighting design, set, and costumes.  
February 23, 2012
Night Journey

Noguchi and "Night Journey"

This month, we're celebrating all things Japanese and modern with our September 2011 issue, Japan Style. And one of the many innovators who gets a bit of special attention this month is the American-born designer Isamu Noguchi. We take you inside the process of how one of his iconic Akari lamps is made in the magazine, but I want to share another of his deft creations: the "settings" for Martha Graham's 1961 film version of the dance "Night Journey." Rarely has "modern" music, dance, and design intersected to such haunting effect.
August 10, 2011
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LINES Ballet's Mod Sets

Last week I had the pleasure of seeing Alonzo King's LINES Ballet's new production "Triangle of the Squinches" at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. King has long been a San Francisco dance mainstay, a restless choreographer whose dazzling, athletic dances blur the lines between modern and classical ballet. For this performance he had two key collaborators: percussionist Mickey Hart (of the Grateful Dead), and architect Christopher Haas who did the sets. Haas's best known work to date are likely H.M. de Young Museum in San Francisco and 1111 Lincoln Road in Miami, two projects he managed for Herzog and de Meuron. After seeing the show, I had a chance to talk with Haas about the sets he designed for King. Have a look at the photos in this slideshow and read more about Haas's work. And if you're in the Bay Area, don't miss Triangle of the Squinches, which shows until Sunday, April 24th.
April 21, 2011
Photograph by Rinko Kawauchi.

Friday Finds 1.28.11

In this last Friday Finds for the month of January, we bring you a handful of the photographs, films, and other aspects of visual culture that captivated us this week.
January 28, 2011
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Dancing About Architecture

Steve Martin is widely credited with the off-handed critical cut: "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture." And though modern dance troupes have taken up just that subject on plenty of occasions, the Architecture of Light, the performance accompanying last night's opening of the revamped ODC/San Francisco theater building may well have been the first time dancers have played architectural tour guides. Mark Cavagnero and Associates Architects went to work expanding and improving part of ODC's modern dance campus in San Francisco's Mission District in 2006, and last night the building jolted to life as the company led the assembled guests through the new space--from an office, to a studio, to the cafe, to the main theater--over a series of six interlocking dances. It was amazing. All architectural tour guides should immediately drop their musty old blueprints and race straight to the Pina Bausch tapes.
October 1, 2010
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Xavier Le Roy, Self-Unfinished

Hailing from Montpellier in the south of France, Xavier Le Roy is a renowned modern choreographer (and former biochemist) whose work kneads together space, human body, and machine. After seeing his recent performance "Self-Unfinished" at Boston's ICA, I caught up with him at Simmons Hall at MIT, where he is currently in residency, and asked him all my burning questions in the flesh.
May 4, 2010