Dying Swans and Dragged Up Dames

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Abstract

This paper takes an irreverent and fun investigative look into the working process of Dying Swans and Dragged Up Dames: a photographic exhibition of the ageing dancer. The text is anecdotal and self reflective in nature and addresses current issues surrounding age and dance and the need for more visibility of the vintage practitioner. The text is accompanied by tragi-comedy images. The tragedy lies in knowing that the dancers we watch will eventually become too past it to dance, the comedy from the bombastic contrast between athletic dance bodies and aged, overweight ones attempting and achieving (thank you Photoshop!) the same balletic feats. This paper also fondly foregrounds cultural obsessions with youth and Photoshop, and the erasure of age in both live performance – ballet, drag or otherwise - and the digital dark room, where ability and beauty can be airbrushed and ‘improved’. Highlights include: Angina Pavlova’s Dying Swan; the gravity defying leaps of Rudolf Nearenough; and Marko Fonteyn’s The Fired Bird.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-16
JournalAnimated Magazine
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013

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