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Dancers: Behind the Scenes with The Royal Ballet.

Dancers: Behind the Scenes with The Royal Ballet. By Andrej Uspenski. Oberon Books. 144 pages. $60.

Andrej Uspenski is a first artist with The Royal Ballet. He also has a passion for photography and his unique position in the ballet company has given him a rare opportunity to combine both talents. The result is this splendid, large coffee-table book with over 200 photographs that chronicle intimate moments backstage at the Royal Opera House, London. The only text surrounding the pictures is the dancers' names, allowing the photos to speak for themselves.

Uspenski has been focusing his lens on colleagues for several years now. The dancers--from corps members to principals--are at ease in his presence and trust him, thus allowing him to capture intimate shots that most official photographers miss. Amongst them is a saucy picture of Alina Cojocaru (now with English National Ballet) surrounded by electrical wiring, looking as though she were plugging in her batteries for the next grueling rehearsal; a weary dancer, catching 40 winks with head down on his cluttered dressing table; Marianela Nunez's jete, soaring high above the Cluster of girls standing at the barre. Then there is the bewitching shot of soloist Claire Calvert's half face, one sparkling lash-framed eye, heavily outlined with mascara, peeking out of the curtain before performance. On the back cover, Carlos Acosta and Natalia Osipova, in their Swan Lake costumes, also look out at the huge auditorium. With such sharp and vital photos, the reader gets a real taste of what it is like to be a dancer.

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Title Annotation:dm recommends
Author:Willis, Margaret
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Book review
Date:Dec 1, 2013
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