I stumbled upon this slide show at MS-NBC highlighting the work of performance artist and photographer Kerry Skarbakka, and it immediately put me in mind of this image of dancers from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, coming to Whitney Hall May 19 & 20.
What do these images suggest? To me, they depict the human body at the extremes of its innate expressiveness, at one moment free and graceful while at the same time vulnerable and earth-bound. I suppose that's why I've always preferred the staccato syncopation of tap to the ethereal flights of ballet. Give me Fred Astaire any day. Of course, modern dance occupies a sort of middle space, by turns breathlessly weightless, then grounded, almost rooted to the stage.
I can't recall who once described walking as an interrupted act of perpetually falling. (I do know that Douglas Adams described flight as the art of throwing oneself to the ground and missing.) I am only intrigued by how balletic Skarbakka's photos appear, and how something as graceful as dance is really as much an illusion as his photographs.