Nijinsky and the Ecstasy of the Divine

I am thrilled this work will be exhibited at the Arts Centre Melbourne Sep 3-18, 2016.  Click here for details.  This exhibition coincides with the Australian Ballet's performance of Nijinsky: a Ballet by John Neumeier.  The great thing about this is timing that the dancer in my series, Aleix Martinez, is currently a soloist in John Neumeier's Hamburg Ballet and so, experienced in dancing this Nijinsky-inspired ballet choreographed by the man who has had a lifelong obsession with Nijinsky, there is a deep resonance with the essence of both Neumeier's work and Nijinsky's legacy.  If you would like to purchase a limited edition silver gelatin photograph, please contact Claire or Andy at MARS Gallery.


Toward the Light

Toward the Light

It began in a second hand bookstore. I found myself picking up books about Nijinsky and curiosity and fascination slowly kindled.

In 2012 the Hamburg Ballet visited Brisbane in Australia and performed John Neumeier's Nijinsky-inspired ballet. I attended that performance. One dancer had something of the essence she was seeking, however I was unable to make contact with him.

A few months later, while in Europe, I was given the opportunity to attend a dress rehearsal of a Nijinsky gala performance in Hamburg and take some photographs. However, far from the stage, this was certainly not my preferred way to make photographs (I like to get close), the mystery dancer was not featured and the session was not fruitful.

On leaving the ballet, pondering the question of best next steps, I entered the train station. At this point synchronicity stepped in. The dancer from the Brisbane performance walked onto the otherwise empty platform. After a brief exchange, the next day he wrote to me saying that he was really interested in this project, because it was not a literal representation of Nijinsky, but rather, an exploration of his soul.

And so, this dancer, Aleix Martinez, and I were brought together to make this work.

This work from my series ‘Nijinsky and the Ecstasy of the Divine’ is inspired by Vaslav Nijinsky (1889-1950), the genius Russian dancer/choreographer. It imagines Nijinsky’s inner and outer world and seeks a modern expression of the creative essence, which inhabited him.

Nijinsky, the most significant male ballet dancer of the 20th Century. A dance genius, he was the first male international “star” of the ballet. His gift as a dancer captivated audiences from the moment he began dancing as a young child.

In addition to extraordinary technique, he was the first dancer to use his body to inhabit a character to such an extent that he was utterly believable, whether it be a delicate rose, an African slave, a half- human faun, a Turkish slave, a puppet or a bluebird. Beyond his own dancing, Nijinsky’s choreography was so radically innovative it made a profound impact across Europe and America paving the way for modern ballet.

He truly took dance to an entirely new level. Becoming the lover of Diaghilev and working with other great artists such as Stravinsky, opened many doors artistically and added to the mystique of the man. At the height of his power as a dancer and choreographer, at just 29 yrs, he succumbed to mental illness and spent the remaining 30 years of his life in and out of asylums. His writings, filled with references to transcendence and God, are fascinating and add further mystery to the man.

The genius and magic of Nijinsky continues to inspire artists. No film footage exists so the only record of his mastery is through photographs and eyewitness accounts. Stories of the magic of his performances abound.

Arts Centre Melbourne

Arts Centre Melbourne