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Overheard in the Galleries: Septime Webre on Degas

October 14, 2011

Washington Ballet Artistic Director Septime Webre discusses Degas's Dancers at the Barre. Photo: James Brantley

At a recent Phillips after 5, Septime Webre, artistic director of the Washington Ballet, provided a dancer’s point(e) of view on the Degas exhibition. At Dancers at the Barre he observed, “You see that this work is not about rehearsal. It’s about the moments in between rehearsals.” For Webre, Degas’s tendency to return to the same subjects ten times, or even a hundred times, reminded him of the dancer’s daily routine and the process of working and reworking movements to achieve harmony in the body. Webre quoted choreographer Merce Cunningham, who famously stated that to be a dancer “You have to love the daily working.”

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