ARTIST STATEMENT: Created by Leslie Arlette Boyce / 917/673.7935
v. The art of creating and arranging choreography specifically to appear in a photograph and/or the digital image including, but not exclusive to dance //choreotographic n. image file may be designed/re-designed to accompany a live performance or an installation, a photographic memory of choreography. [Fr. Gk choreia, dancing + photo + Gk graphos]
For dance photographers, the dancer/model is often the tool of choice used to communicate the photographer’s vision to the audience and is rarely regarded as an individual with the ability to convey a statement of any import. In this approach, creating the story becomes the sole responsibility of the photographer. When I photograph, I create choreography for the camera in a very different manner than that of many other photographers. In my photographs, the particular pulse—the strengths as well as the weakness that the dancer possesses—play an important role in the shaping of the story, and free both the dancer/model and the photographer from the constraints of traditional choreography.
Photographers understand that some of our most successful portraiture occurs when we encourage the natural self of the model to live in front of the camera lens. That self can possess many faces as well as sides. Much of my choreography for the camera was created by reaching in and pulling out from my dancer/models that part of the self that they as individuals might be least comfortable showing to the world—a part that is perhaps unpolished and more sincere then they would normally reveal. Daile Kaplan, director of photographic acquisitions at the Swann Galleries in New York says, “[Boyce]’s dance photographs have a life and a kind of energy in them that you just do not see in other dance photography.” By choosing to simultaneously convey the physical strength and vulnerability of the dancer/model to the viewer, the photographs revel in the complexity of the collaborative experience between the photographer, the lens, and the dancer/model.
Creating the photograph comes from the successful partnering of the art forms of photography and choreography. In looking at Choreotography®, French choreographer Heddy Maalem says, “[Boyce] reveals our inability to truly speak, to enunciate the world, to perceive the complex linkage, to speak of our own violence, our inability to lay our eyes on beauty. [She] throws the “a-plat” of appearances in our face as a way to challenge the awakening of a vital, tortuous obscure and constant movement. [She] does not try to capture any truth. She takes a picture of the precious moment in our contradictions, this moment when we surrender to loss, to life-this moment when beauty and death lead to universal inquiry. Thus, the burial and the burst of pure beauty become tightly intertwined.”
The seamless intertwining of individuals suggests to the viewer an endless beat of a single heart in the photograph entitled The Haunting. Two separate image files of the same dancer/model were masked to create a supportive, yet yielding moment in a dance. The intention was to create something that is not vivid, but believable and accepting to the senses.
As I continue to explore this new art form, and pushing my own perceptions of what Choreotography® can potentially become has led to the creation of the production entitled Beauties: As Seen By Other/And Then What Is. This large-scale production will present a ground—breaking combination of a live dance performance and the visually intriguing composite imagery Choreotography. In Beauties, composite imagery produced using CHOREOTOGRAPHY®/CTM, will accentuate the story told on stage through original choreography and music.
Beauties is a sponsored project of Artspire, a Program of the New York Foundation for the Arts (ARTSPIRE). ARTSPIRE is a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization founded in 1971 to work with the arts community throughout New York State and the United States to develop and facilitate programs in all disciplines. ARTSPIRE will receive grants on behalf of Beauties, ensure the use of grant funds in accordance with the grant agreements, and will provide program or financial reports as required.
For additional information, and to make a donation to this project, visit www.beautiesasseenbyothers.com.