Blog / Miró Through the Eyes of Dancers

Posted By Wendy Hower

Le Bal Miró

UPDATE: View photos from the event on flickr



Send two clasically trained ballet dancers into the exhibition Miró: The Experience of Seeing, and they see movement. They see time. They see relationships.

Audrey Fenske, who graduated from Duke in 2009, and Devin Sweet, who graduated from the N.C. School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, took inspiration from Miró’s paintings and sculptures to create a performance with original choreography, set and costume design. They will perform this Sunday at 2 PM at the Nasher Museum as part of the program, “Le Bal Miró.” The program includes commentary by Jade Bettin, instructor, UNC Dramatic Arts; Molly Boarati, assistant curator, Nasher Museum; Barbara Dickinson, professor of the practice, Duke Dance Program; and Scott Lindroth, Vice Provost for the Arts and professor of music, who will share insights about the artistic process.

The idea for this program came from L’Uccello Luce (Bird Light), which Miró designed in 1981, and which was performed for the Venice Biennale at the Fenice Theatre. Writer Jacques Dupin, composer Sylvano Bussotti and choreographer Joseph Russillo collaborated with Miró to transform his art into an original performance. Audrey and Devin read the libretto (story) of L’Uccello Luce but did not have a film of that production for reference. Visiting Miró’s work in person at the Nasher Museum helped, they said.  “When I see certain brush strokes in artwork,” Audrey said, “that immediately translates into physical movement in my head.” A painting is not merely two dimensional, for these dancers. “I view a lot of his paintings as time … you need to take time to view everything and in that process it reveals itself to you,”  Devin said. “It’s not just the work that is there but work over time, which really translates well into movement.” Many of Miró’s sculptures and paintings in the exhibition have similar names–“bird,” “woman,” “figure.” Sometimes the relationship between bird and figure is positive and friendly, Devin said; other times, they combine into almost monstrous beings. “There was a lot of movement we could see in the paintings themselves,” Audrey said. “A lot of our inspiration came directly from his works,” Devin said.

They are dance partners and members of Keith Lee Dances company in Virginia. They rehearsed in a small studio to prepare for their performance on the small stage in the Nasher Museum’s lecture hall. “Working with a space constraint like that you have to take it under consideration from the beginning,” Devin said. And they like the space, he said. “It creates a much more personal connection between the dancers and audience.” The space is quite intimate, Audrey agreed. “We can stare everyone in the face, we’re just so close to them,” she said. “They’re going to hear our breath when we move.”
Sunday’s performance is  free and open to the public. 

Entry to Miró: The Experience of Seeing requires a separate ticket purchase.


ABOVE: Audrey Fenske and Devin Sweet strike a pose in front of Miró’s painted bronze sculpture, Caress of a Bird (La Caresse d’un oiseau), from 1967. It is on loan from the Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, Texas. Photo by Wendy Hower.

TOP: Photo by J Caldwell.

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