By Dana Baldwin
Director of Education
There’s nothing like a live model to test your understanding of drawing the human form. Edgar Degas certainly felt that way, dedicating decades of his life to studying, drawing, and painting ballet dancers in Paris. So why not invite artists, both amateur and professional, to have the same experience at the Portland Museum of Art that Degas had in the 19th century? To celebrate the opening of Edgar Degas: The Private Impressionist, the Museum hosted dancers from the Maine State Ballet in the Selma Black Great Hall on Thursday, February 23.
Check out Elizabeth Dragoni, Elise Bickford, Veronica Druchniak, and Charlotte Feinberg dancing as kids and their parents, Maine College of Art students, and experienced artists from the community came to the Museum to watch and sketch.
A highlight of the day was when Maine State Ballet company members Nathaniel Dombek and Janet Davis performed a beautiful lift featured in the video below. The crowd couldn’t help but burst into applause. Janet’s wearing her costume to play both the white swan and the black swan (Odille/Odette) in Maine State’s production of “Swan Lake” at Merrill Auditorium on March 31 & April 1. It was especially fun to see the littlest artists awe-struck by Janet’s black swan costume.
Less intimidating than the Black Swan, Lucy Denton, and Emma Rose Schwartz posed in the Degas exhibition, dressed and standing like Degas’ famous sculpture, The Little 14-Year-Old Dancer. It was a lot harder than they thought! But they did a great job, standing still as a statue (literally) while artists studied and sketched them.
It was a terrific day at the Museum. Thanks to Maine State Ballet and all the great energy of the artists who came to work at the PMA! For a full album of the event, please visit our Facebook page!