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“Misty Copeland” by Gregg Delman

This book may not enhance Misty Copeland’s dance career, but will surely garner her thousands of new admirers.

“Misty Copeland” cover art (Photo credit: Gregg Delman)

“Misty Copeland” cover art (Photo credit: Gregg Delman)

Joel Benjamin

Joel Benjamin, Critic

Aside from a short foreword by ballerina Misty Copeland and an introduction by photographer Gregg Delman (and publishing information), there’s not another printed word in Misty Copeland, the voluptuous new coffee table book from Rizzoli New York, a sexy collaboration between the dancer and the visual artist.

Misty Copeland is not just the celebration of Misty Copeland the feisty, young classical ballet dancer, but of Misty Copeland the young, nubile, well-proportioned young woman.  She looks great wearing next to nothing, her exposed skin gleaming under Mr. Delman’s expertly subtle lighting.  She is able to achieve all sorts of hyper-stretched positions on all sorts of furniture, her expressions ranging from distracted to come hither.

Misty Copeland (Photo credit: Gregg Delman)

Misty Copeland (Photo credit: Gregg Delman)

The problem with these photographs, exquisitely composed and pretentiously artful though they may be, is that positions that look elegant and coolly perfect on the ballet stage—in flattering costumes—make a totally different impression when assumed in ordinary rooms, splayed across ordinary furniture.

Ms. Copeland, who made dance history breaking the color barrier in a major international ballet troupe (American Ballet Theatre), has turned herself into an object of sensual, if not sexual, objectification.  Prurience trumps art.

Misty Copeland (Photo credit: Gregg Delman)

Misty Copeland (Photo credit: Gregg Delman)

Certainly, Mr. Delman, who has worked with many celebrities, has taken care to pose each photo—whether an elegantly stretched out arabesque or tightly coiled pose—with an extremely fine eye, walking a fine line between artful and explicit.  He has captured a rapturous woman who is proud of her physique and her accomplishments.

This book may not enhance Misty Copeland’s dance career, but will surely garner her thousands of new admirers.

Misty Copeland by Gregg Delman

Rizzoli New York

144 Pages/95 Color Photographs

For more information, go to http://www.rizzoliusa.com

Joel Benjamin
About Joel Benjamin (229 Articles)
JOEL BENJAMIN was a child performer on Broadway and danced with leading modern dance and ballet companies. Joel has been attending theater, ballet and opera performances ever since childhood, becoming quite opinionated over the years. He was the founder and artistic director of the American Chamber Ballet and subsequently was massage therapist to the stars before becoming a reviewer and memoirist. He is a member of the Outer Critics Circle.

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