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The work of stage and dance photographer Martha Swope on display at The New York Public Library
Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor on stage at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater. Photo: Martha Swope.
NEW YORK, NY.- Martha Swope, a former dancer with a Brownie camera who would go on to become a world renowned photographer of dance and theater in New York, is the subject of an exciting exhibition at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Martha Swope: In Rehearsal opened September 26, 2012, and focuses solely on Swope’s rehearsal photography, where she captured rarely seen images from some of the most iconic stage and dance productions of the 20th Century. As a former dancer herself, the exhibition reveals Swope’s unique understanding of movement and also illustrates the process of creating dance and theater. Martha Swope: In Rehearsal is on display from September 26, 2012 to January 26, 2013 in the Vincent Astor Gallery at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at 40 Lincoln Center. Admission is free.

“Martha Swope is one of the most important photographers in the history of the performing arts and The Library for the Performing Arts is pleased to have received her entire collection,” said Jacqueline Z Davis, Barbara G. and Lawrence A. Fleishman Executive Director of NYPL for the Performing Arts. “Martha’s images in this wonderful exhibition allow patrons the rare opportunity to get a glimpse into the process of some of the most iconic performers of the arts. It is only fitting that this exhibition is on display at The Library for the Performing Arts.”

“I always loved photographing rehearsals because it is during that process that real creativity occurs,” said Martha Swope. “I am honored to have my work on display at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. I want to thank Jacqueline Davis and her wonderful staff f0r creating such a terrific exhibition.”

Martha Swope: In Rehearsal features over 100 striking images of theater and dance from the photographer's 40 year career, drawn from Swopes own archives acquired by The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts in 2010 including some of the biggest names in stage and dance: Martha Graham, Igor Stravinsky, George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Jacques d’Amboise, Stephen Sondheim, Jack Lemmon, Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Chita Rivera, Liza Minnelli, Gregory Hines and Patti LuPone. Some of the highlights in the exhibition include two of Swope’s earliest projects: photographs of rehearsals of the original production of West Side Story in 1957 as well as images documenting George Balanchine and Igor Stravinsky creating the ballet Agon in 1957. Swope would go on to become the official photographer for the New York City Ballet and Martha Graham companies. Some other highlights of the exhibition include poignant images of the New York Shakespeare Festival productions, from Shakespeare in the Park to A Chorus Line and other numerous Broadway-bound shows such as Evita and The Pirates of Penzance.

Martha Swope: In Rehearsal will be on display from September 26, 2012 to January 26, 2013 in the Vincent Astor Gallery at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at 40 Lincoln Center. Admission is free.

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