artist statement

By: Mark Schermeister


I once read that one should NEVER, EVER begin an artist’s statement with the word “I.” There – it’s done; the first mistake. (There will be more, for sure, as we navigate the creative process together, but since mistakes are one of our most effective teachers, let’s get started on a positive note!)

George Balanchine once said, “ballet is woman.” That may or may not be true, but in either case it’s an enormous understatement; ballet (and dance in general) is much more: It’s been described as a form of personal expression, art, ritual, a series of movements, a form of communication; there seems to be as many definitions of dance as there are dancers. (At any rate, it’s much, much more than 50% of the world’s population!) Since dance is a unique personal experience, and there are nearly unlimited experiences of dance as there are dancers and observers (that’s a lot.)

 One thing common to all experience of dance, however, is its fleeting quality: Unlike art forms such as painting and sculpture, as soon as the dance occurs, it’s gone: Poof.

Unfortunately, dance has historically appeared then vanished for want of a way to preserve it. (Ever tried to find footage of Louis XIV or Marie Taglioni on YouTube?) Now, for the first time in our history, we can use technology to capture and preserve intentionally chosen moments and send them off to future generations. This gives us all – from 2-year old student to etoile (or perhaps the other way around?) the ability to perform for those who have yet to be born. 

I submit that:

  • If we carefully choose and protect these moments, we’ll showcase the unseen beauty and meaning in dance and highlight the unique beauty of each dancer, preserving them for years. 
  • If we take this opportunity (duty?) to depict the dance, it’s converted from the performing to the visual arts. 
  • If we leverage current technology, we speak to future generations by creating artifacts that outlive us. 
  • If we collaborate and create important images that showcase the dancer’s unique attributes (tangible and intangible,) their beauty and grace is preserved, rather than slipping quietly into the past. 
  • If we do this in a spirit of service, discipline, honesty, integrity, and joy, we’ll benefit, as will those we serve, and those who will come after us; a win-win-win proposition.

If we do all this, we’ll make a positive difference to a lot of people, generate a lot of wonderful pictures, and have a LOT of fun along the way. . . 

Let’s do this! 

                                                                                                            Mark Schermeister