A FREE photographic exhibition of the ageing dancer
Mark Edward and Helen Newall
Dying Swans is an irreverent and fun series of 20 black and white and colour photographic images parodying performance photography of iconic male and female dancers, played by Mark Edward and photographed and Phootshopped by Helen Newall. the images are accompanied by visually presented information detailing the background to the images.
These are 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 exhibition 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’. These are images of old drag ballet queens, flamboyant in the performance of being clapped out and over the hill but still dancing. Highlights include: Angina Pavlova’s Dying Swan; the gravity defying leaps of Rudolf Neuroyev; and Marko Fonteyn’s The Fired Bird.
This project has been funded by Edge Hill University