Thursday, March 10, 2011

Poetry in Stop Action

Our local cable provider had a major outage this week.  For some reason our television service was out for about five minutes but our Internet service wasn't restored for a day and a half.  Oh, well, we're back online now.

Last night Barry and I watched See Them Dance, an absorbing documentary on PBS about Steven Caras.  Caras studied ballet despite his ex-military father's disapproval and became first a member of George Balanchine's American Ballet Theater and then their official photographer.  The story of his journey is recounted by Caras, his friends, family, and co-workers, and illustrated with still photos and video clips from his childhood and both careers.  We are also treated to much of Caras's best work; his sense of composition and his ability to stop action at the moment of maximum impact are absolutely astonishing. 

Caras speaks as though he was lucky to have been given two great talents and two professions he loves, but he obviously worked like a demon for his chances and seized them with both hands when they arrived.  This is a fascinating film for anyone interested in dancing, photographing the human form, or forging one's own destiny.  Since this is fundraising week on PBS it will probably air again soon; check your local schedule to see whether it will be available in your area.  If not, check out some of his work here.

"Steven Caras’s critically acclaimed photo archive is one of the most important dance image collections of all time. How it came to be is a chronicle of the birth and rebirth of the artistic spirit, and of the physical and emotional hurdles all professional dancers face." ~review of See Them Dance on

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