Classical ballet inspires romantic dreams of beauty and perfection like no other art form. But what lies behind the vision is years of formal training, starting at a very young age. For anyone who has dreamed of being Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, or the swashbuckling slave in Le Corsaire, the true picture of what preceeds the stage version can be seen in Rachel Papo’s series, Desperately Perfect, opening tomorrow night at ClampArt Gallery, in Chelsea.
Papo spent five weeks photographing at the legendary Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia. Day in and day out, she became an invisible guest at classes that teach a method, and its discipline, that dates back to the 1930s, and which counts George Balanchine and Mikhail Barysnikov among its proponents.