Betti Franceschi

Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art. — Eleanor Roosevelt

In 1983, I accompanied my daughter to Paris where she danced with New York City Ballet at the Theatre du Châtelet. There was of course a gala, at which I found the audience in the foyer as exciting as the performance on the stage. Among the beautiful and expensively-dressed women of that haut monde, none were so commanding as the ballerinas of "a certain age" -- few of them rich, but each in a designer jacket that dated and spoke from her artistic coming together. In the dialogue between art and couture that has always been unique to Paris, each of these étoiles still carried herself in the unique physical language of her peak moment and its zeitgeist. The ageless artist in each of those grand dames, and those who have followed, must be recorded and honored.

I am interested in bodies that speak. My interest has always been in the expressive line written by and into each dancer's body, his or her instrument.

After six decades of drawing, painting and sculpting dancers, this project is a departure for me only in the sense that these works are digital photographs, rather than from my hand.

In photographing my subjects dressed in black and against a black ground, the black-on-black negates irrelevant mass and articulates the line of movement that is each dancer's signature..

My fundamental motivation is to refute the youth-enthralled ageism of the American culture we live in. People are living longer and staying engaged and vibrant well into and past the old rocking-chair decades.

These are icons for my generation. I am 85.

Video by Michel Negroponte.

©Betti Franceschi - All rights reserved. All images are protected by international copyright.
No image is to be used in any manner without permission.