''Stanley Roseman's works perpetuate and sublimate the dancers' movements, and, more than that, even their forms, recreating with a stroke of a pencil the physical feeling. His hand makes the pencil line dance on the paper, which, from arabesques to entrechats, becomes the dancer.
Presented at the top of the page is the superb drawing Nicolas Le Riche, 1995, in the British Museum, London. The Paris Opéra star dancer is seen in Le Jeune Homme et la Mort, choreographed by Roland Petit to a scenario by Jean Cocteau. The ballet, relating events leading up to a young man's death, is danced to Bach's Passacaglia in C minor and is considered a classic of the modern dance repertory. With swift, sure strokes of a graphite pencil, Roseman created a dynamic drawing of the star dancer taking a thrilling, spinning leap into the air.
Whereas generations of artists who have depicted dancers have more often concentrated on the female dancer, Roseman concentrates equally on the male dancer, the danseuse, and the pas de deux. Roseman's oeuvre on the dance began in New York City in the 1970's and is exemplified by the drawings Rudolf Nureyev, 1975, Martha Graham Dance Company, in the collection of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; and Mikhail Baryshnikov, 1975, American Ballet Theatre, collection of the Albertina, Vienna. In his work Roseman brings a modernism and importance to the male dancer in art. (See "Dance from New York to Paris.")
Roseman's drawings from the Paris Opéra Ballet's revivals of productions of the Ballets Russes are also presented on the website page "Ballets Russes.'' Featured are drawings from Stravinsky's Petrouchka, the poignant story of the Russian clown puppet with a soul; and The Rite of Spring, set in primitive Russia and culminating with a terrifying, tribal sacrifice. L'Après-midi d'un Faune, which relates the amorous yearnings of a faun on a summer afternoon, was choreographed to the evocative symphonic poem by Debussy.
The Paris Opéra Ballet presents in its repertory productions of the Ballets Russes, including The Prodigal Son. Roseman drew from the wings of the stage at performances of the ballet in April and May 1993. In the second scene the Prodigal Son, having been seduced by the Siren, is beaten, stripped, and robbed by a gang of thieves and left destitute and repentant.
The Paris Opéra, which dates from the reign of Louis XIV and the founding in 1669 of the Académie d'Opéra, later renamed the Académie Royale de Musique, is known as the birthplace of classical dance. From the great nineteenth-century tradition of classical ballet is La Bayadère choreographed by Marius Petipa for the Imperial Theatre in St. Petersburg. The celebrated French-born choreographer's ballet was the basis for Rudolf Nureyev's La Bayadère, which he choreographed for the Paris Opéra. His ballet premiered in October 1992, a few months before his untimely death. Nureyev's La Bayadère has since become a standard work in the Company's repertory.
The Bibliothèque Nationale de France in its exhibition publication Stanley Roseman - Dessins sur la Danse à l'Opéra de Paris, (text in French and English), 1996, states that: "One of the objectives of the exhibit is to emphasize the artist's intent, through several ballets or works of modern dance, such as The Rite of Spring, L'Après-midi d'un Faune, and La Bayadère, to express the individuality of the dancer by showing drawings of different dancers executing the same role.'' Roseman drew at performances of La Bayadère over several years. Presented here are three superb drawings of star dancers Laurent Hilaire, (fig. 9); and Nicolas Le Riche and Kader Belarbi, (figs. 10 and 11, below).
Set in a past century in India, La Bayadère, with a memorable score by Ludwig Minkus, tells the fateful love story of the Indian temple dancer, or bayadère, Nikiya and the noble Indian warrior Solor. Laurent Hilaire created the role of Solar for the Paris Opéra premiere and danced in subsequent performances over the following years, as seen in the present work in the collection of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.
"The world premiere of Ravel's Tzigane, a rhapsody for violin and orchestra, was given in Amsterdam in October 1924 by the Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Pierre Monteux. In his early career Monteux was a principle conductor of the Ballets Russes. The premieres that Monteux conducted for the Ballets Russes include works by Ravel, Debussy, and Stravinsky, and their music was to hold an important place in the Maestro's long and distinguished career.
Don Quixote, the classical ballet choreographed (1869) by Marius Petita to an effervescent score by Ludwig Minkus, tells the story of the adventures of the charming young lovers Kitri and Basilio, who are befriended by the errant knight and his trusty companion Sancho Panza. Nureyev's choreography for Don Quixote, after Petipa, entered the repertory of the Paris Opéra Ballet in 1981. Roseman completed his first year drawing the dance at the Paris Opéra with the Company's Christmas season presentation of Don Quixote (Don Quichotte) in 1990.
The Palais des Beaux-Arts, Lille, houses a celebrated collection of master drawings from the Italian Renaissance, including an extensive holding of Raphael drawings, and the German, Flemish, Dutch, and French Schools, as exemplified by works from Poussin, Watteau, David, and Ingres to Géricault, Delacroix, and Matisse. The Lille Museum has drawings by Roseman on different subjects. The suite of his drawings on the dance at the Paris Opéra, acquired in 1996, includes the work presented here.
The Teyler Museum, in the Netherlands, is renowned for its outstanding collection of master drawings from the Italian Renaissance, which includes sheets by Michelangelo and Raphael, and from the seventeenth-century Dutch school, notably drawings by Rembrandt. The Museum made its first acquisition of Roseman's drawings in 1986 and further acquisitions on different subjects in the following years. Eric Ebbinge, Director of the Teyler Museum, writes in letter to Ronald Davis, who introduced his colleague's work to the Museum, that Roseman's drawings ''will enrich the existing collection of drawings in the most significant way. . . .''
Kader Belarbi, 1993, presented above, is a dynamic composition which places the figure centered high on the page. With swift, curvilinear strokes of the pencil, Roseman captures on paper the star dancer at the very moment he takes a thrilling, spinning leap. The drawing is a further example of Roseman's great draughtsmanship.
Music is a stimulating force for the dancer and was also for Roseman drawing dancers in Romantic and classical ballets and works of modern dance. The modern dance repertory is well represented by Roseman's drawings of the male dancer in diverse choreographic works with music spanning the centuries. The Moor's Pavane, 1949, choreographed by José Limon, is based on Shakespeare's Othello and danced to excerpts from Henry Purcell's suite Abdelazer, composed in 1695. (The drawing of Charles Jude as Iago and Michaël Denard as Othello, in the Musée Ingres, Montauban, is presented on "Biography" - Page 2 "World of Shakespeare.")
The modern dance repertory is further represented in Roseman's work by the two drawings presented below: Manuel Legris, 1996, collection of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, (fig. 5); and Wilfried Romoli, 1994, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, (fig. 6).
In the drawing of Wilfried Romoli, Roseman renders the figure with rhythmic, pencil lines varying from light to dark strokes that accentuate the dancer's movements and characterization. The dancer's head is bent to his chest, torso arched, shoulders raised, and arms outstretched in waving motion. With right leg thrust forward and left leg raised, bent at the knee, and receding behind, the figure advances rapidly forward and seems to emerge from the spacial dimension of the paper.
Male Dancer, (fig. 3), in the Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique, Brussels, is a striking composition that places the figure high on the page. With minimum, curvilinear strokes of the pencil, Roseman effectively depicts the male dancer in a dramatic leap expressive of modern dance.
At a performance of Tzigane by the Paris Opéra Ballet in 1993, Roseman created the marvelous drawing Jean-Yves Lormeau, (fig. 4). The star dancer, wearing tights and a low-cut shirt with voluminous sleeves, rendered here with swirling pencil strokes, dances with masculine flair to Ravel's gypsy melodies. The strong, diagonal placement of the figure on the page; the tilt of the dancer's head; outstretched left arm; and raised right leg, bent at the knee, reinforce this vivid impression of lively dancing.
Roseman created a powerfully expressive drawing of star dancer Kader Belarbi as the Prodigal Son, (fig. 2). With vigorous lines the artist renders the contained movement of the dancer, the turn of the torso and bend of the legs, arms thrust downwards by his sides. Roseman draws the figure with strong, dark strokes of the pencil that emphasize the strain of the dancer's neck and his head against his right shoulder and describe the anguish seen on the Prodigal Son's face, which elicits a feeling of pathos from the viewer.
Roseman attended Patrice Bart's rehearsals for the upcoming presentation of Coppélia given by the Paris Opéra Ballet during the months of May, June, and July 1996 at the Palais Garnier. "A stocky, pleasant-looking man with some gray in his hair, he was serious about his work, yet mild-mannered with the dancers,'' writes Roseman of Patrice Bart. "He had danced many of the great classical ballet roles and inspired confidence in the Company. . . .''
"I was very pleased to have the opportunity to draw Patrice at rehearsals for Coppélia, his choreography of the Romantic ballet, which had its world-premiere in 1870 at the old Paris Opéra on the Rue le Peletier. Léo Delibes composed the wonderful score for Coppélia. His symphonic ballet music influenced a following generation of composers, including Tchaikovsky, who acknowledged his debt to the French composer. Delibes' operas include Lakmé, which premiered in Paris in 1883.''
* Stanley Roseman - Dessins sur la Danse à l'Opéra de Paris - Drawings on the Dance at the Paris Opéra
(text in French and English), (Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale de France, 1996). "Quelques Mots des Danseurs /
A Few Words from the Dancers," Nicolas Le Riche, p. 15.
2. Ibid., p. 12.
3. Stanley Roseman, Stanley Roseman and the Dance - Drawings from the Paris Opéra, (Paris: Ronald Davis, 1996), p. 15.
4. Susan Au, Ballet and Modern Dance, (London: Thames and Hudson, 1988), p. 112.
5. On the friendship of Monteux and Roseman , see further the website page "Stanley Roseman and the Ballets Russes.''
Roseman did a drawing of the distinguished Maestro, who, granting the young artist's request to autograph his drawing,
included with his signature a personal dedication: "To Stanley, with my best friendship, Pierre Monteux.''
6. Stanley Roseman, Stanley Roseman and the Dance - Drawings from the Paris Opéra, p. 15.
7. Eugene Polyakov choreographed Comme on respire, 1991, for Charles Jude and Florence Clerc.
Roseman's drawing of the Paris Opéra star dancers in Comme on respire is conserved in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence.
8. John Warrack, Tchaikovsky, (London: Hamish Hamilton Ltd, 1989). p. 92, 93.
9. Stanley Roseman - Dessins sur la Danse à l'Opéra de Paris, p. 12.
10. Stanley Roseman, Stanley Roseman and the Dance - Drawings from the Paris Opéra, p. 14.
The diagonal composition of the drawing Nicolas Le Riche, 1994, is established by the thrust of the dancer's right leg propelling him forward and reinforced by the sweeping strokes that describe the dancer's voluminous sleeve and arm reaching upwards. The energetic movement of the figure is emphasized by the raised left leg, bent at the knee, and the prominent calf muscles, each rendered with a strong stroke of the pencil. A fine, curved line defines the brim of the dancer's turban and gives an oriental touch to this vibrant image of the male dancer.
Jean-Guillaume Bart, 1996, depicts the dancer in performance at a moment in the ballet when he is executing a dance movement as was instructed in rehearsal by the Ballet Master, seen in the drawing above. With fluid, pencil lines Roseman draws Jean-Guillaume taking an exciting leap, his right leg raised and bent at the knee, his left arm outstretched in front of him, his right arm extended high in the air. He wears a shirt with bloused sleeves and a Parisian cap, called a gavroche, rendered with a single, curvilinear stroke of the artist's pencil. Roseman has created a marvelous drawing expressive of the joyfulness and proficiency of the young dancer. Jean-Guillaume Bart was appointed étoile, or star dancer, of the Paris Opéra Ballet in the year 2000.