Tiny dancer

Ballerina Misty Copeland channels Degas’s most famous works

Ahead of a new Edgar Degas exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, dancer Misty Copeland worked with Harper’s Bazaar to recreate the artist’s famous ballet works, like Dancer, Swaying Dancer (Dancer in Green) and The Star. His work painting and sculpting ballerinas — mostly those dancing at the Paris Opéra Ballet — started in the 1860s and ended with his death in 1917. According to Harper’s Bazaar, he is rumored to have once told an art dealer, “People call me the painter of dancing girls. It has never occurred to them that my chief interest in dancers lies in rendering movement and painting pretty clothes.”

“Trying to recreate what Degas did was really difficult. It was amazing just to notice all of the small details but also how he still allows you to feel like there’s movement,” Copeland said. She said she could see herself in Degas’s Little Dancer Aged Fourteen, a sculpted piece, because the dancer seems “content but also reserved,” explaining that she was “shy and introverted at that age.”

“I don’t even have an image in my head of what I remember a ballerina being or existing before I took a ballet class,” Copeland told Harper’s Bazaar. “Ballet was just the one thing that brought me to life.”

Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty” is set to open March 26 at MoMa.

Read the full story at Harper’s Bazaar.

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