NCMA Recommends: Blue Dancer
Alexander Archipenko, Blue Dancer, modeled 1913–18; cast after 1961, bronze with blue patina; marble base, H. 41 × W. 18 in., Purchased with funds from the State of North Carolina
In the Artist’s Words
Space is an element of sculpture. This is a psychological thing; those parts which are absent have the form of the absent object which I want to present. I draw a parallel between space problems and the pause in music, which has as much meaning as sound itself.
These sculptures are more lucrative for the imagination, and it is only through imagination that we can build a civilization. Since photography, representation is unnecessary. Now the imagination seeks to express nature through the use of symbol and abstract form. —Alexander Archipenko, quoted in his New York Times obituary notice, February 26, 1964
Dance at the NCMA
The modern galleries of the NCMA have long been the stage for spontaneous acts of dance and movement as visitors young and old encounter Blue Dancer and attempt to reflect her pose with their bodies. Dance has an immediate effect on us—a sense of wonder and inspiration for what the human body is capable of achieving. The blue dancer holds her pose, cool and abstract, an energetic act frozen in time.
As the Museum campus opens to more and more performing arts, we invite you to visit Archipenko’s beauty as well as attend amazing performances, such as those that graced the stage of the Joseph M. Bryan, Jr., Theater in the Museum Park during the American Dance Festival’s series at the NCMA this past week, pictured below.
We’d like to celebrate the work of our director of performing arts and film, Moses T. Alexander Greene, pictured below with Pilobolus, in his collaborations with ADF and Carolina Ballet this season. Here’s to many more opportunities to view dance at the NCMA! —Angela Lombardi, Director of Outreach and Audience Engagement
Dance images above by Moses T. Alexander Greene
View a slide show of 46 of Archipenko’s works, including his sculptures, drawings and paintings, set to music by Dexter Gordon.
Come Move with Us in the Museum Park!
Join us for a variety of outdoor programs during the glorious September weather.
Tai chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that combines slow, gentle, flowing movements with focused attention and deep breathing. This hour-long program is taught by Imari Colón of East Cloud Kung Fu.
NCMA Dance Gumbo is a series of free outdoor group-exercise classes that incorporate a variety of dance and cultural movement. The September class offers participants a fun aerobic workout using a mixture of pop, Zumba, Latin, and hip-hop dance moves.
NCMA Groove celebrates music + joy + people. Join two members of the collective the Mamis & the Papis, Ma’Duro and Uymami, live from the stage of the Museum Park Theater for an afternoon of the best in Latinx, Caribbean, and Pan-American sounds, including salsa, bachata, merengue, reggaeton, and samba.
Inspired by Archipenko’s Blue Dancer, we recommend four films about passionate and dedicated dancers who seek community, acceptance, and love through their art.
- The Red Shoes (1948). Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger. An aspiring ballerina has to choose between love and dance. Watch on HBO Max or rent on Amazon or YouTube.
- Billy Elliot (2000). Director: Stephen Daldry. A young boy’s life is changed when he stumbles across a ballet class. Watch on HBO Max or rent on Amazon or YouTube.
- Black Swan (2010). Director: Darren Aronofsky. A young ballerina becomes obsessed with perfection after landing the main role in a production of Swan Lake. Watch on Hulu or rent on Amazon or YouTube.
- Pina (2011). Director: Wim Wenders. A visual tribute to German choreographer Pina Bausch told through stunning dance sequences. Watch on the Criterion Channel or rent on Amazon or YouTube.
- My Life with Alexander Archipenko by Frances Gray Archipenko (2014). An intimate portrait of the artist by his young widow, charting Archipenko’s work as modernism was eclipsed by abstract expressionism.
- Degenerate Art: The Attack on Modern Art in Nazi Germany, 1937 edited by Olaf Peters (2014). This fascinating book reconstructs the Nazi exhibition of “degenerate art” of 1937, of which Archipenko’s work was a part.
Dance into the Museum Store
After visiting Blue Dancer in the galleries, come browse new books in the Museum Store. This month’s selections focus on color, form, shape, and the beauty of movement and dance. Titles are for all ages and interests, whether your family is learning colors in Spanish or practicing yoga. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.