Interview - March 28, 1998
LADY of DANCE
Struggle between graceful art revealed in black and white.
GLENDALE — Although Angelique Antoniou has been taking photographs of ballerinias since she was 12 fears old she did not begin practicing fine art photography seriously until the age of 16.
That's when hip surgery effectively ended her dreams of becoming a professional dancer. The hip surgery was so I could dance, and it didn't work, " the 25 year-old Burbank: born-and-bred Antoniou said in an interview.
"It made it worse. So I was never able to realy dance the way I used to again. I could try to take a class now and then, but I would end up in a lot of pain." The Toluca Lake resident's beautiful, mesmerizing solo exhibition at Glendale's Brand Library and Art Center In Brand Park is her love letter to the world she was denied by that hip operation.
It features 22 candid, black-and-white photos of young, local dancers pursuing their graceful craft or preparing for performance behind the scenes.
"It's my only way of being anywhere near dancers again - when I get to photograoh them, " Antoniou said.
"Ironically, it may be Antoniou's sense of longing and loss which makes her work so elegant and profound.
Certainly, her previous experience as a ballet dancer and her knowledge of all the dedication and hard work that goes into that craft give her a unique perspective evident in her photographs.
For instance, in the photo "Silhouette," we watch three dancers from behind as they wait nervously in the wings for their cue and see one of the girls help another with a last minute adjustment to the strap of her gown.
In "Degas Remembrance," we see a little, young dancer staring vacantly before her as she rests for a moment while her company strech and make ready around her.
And in "Corps les Bras" we are presented with a line of achingly poised dancers' bodies, their head cropped from our view.
Each photo belies the apparent ease with which we usually imagine ballerinas defying the laws of gravity.
Antoniou's vision of this work is less idolizind and glamorized than that presented in the ever-ubiquitous ballet calendars.
Yet it is no less attractive despite this focus on the blood, sweat and tears begind the scenes.
I really wanted to show a different side to dance," Antoniou pointed out. "And I think blac-and-white photography shows more of the grit.
Although they may be beautiful images, it just gives it a different feel than the color pictures that you see in calendars when you grow up as a young kid.:
Antoniou's exhibit is not to be missed as it is sure to appeal equally to the public as wella s to dancers, lovers of ballet and photographers.
An addded bonus is the abstract imagery of photographer Robert Koss, a former Glendale resident, whose bizarre, geometric constructions are on display in the Skylight Gallery just next to the Antoniou exhibit.
-Robert A. Stribley