This new body of work is taken from the upcoming exhibition and accompanying book, What Lies Beneath.
In this, his second exhibition of dancers to be held at the Hospital Club Gallery, world renowned dance photographer Rick Guest, with long time collaborator Olivia Pomp, explore the supreme spirit and ensuing physicality that underpins a dancer’s art.
With this remarkable series of portraits he seeks to strip away the external layers of costume, role and performance to reveal the character of the dancers themselves. Once exposed, we see a life of dedication, resolve and sacrifice, reflected in their eyes and carved into their bodies.
In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ‘The artist must be sacrificed to their art. Like bees, they must put their lives into the sting they give.’
The dancers appear in what they wear for their daily ballet practice. These clothes perform various functions, from the necessary preservation of heat, to a small piece of self expression in an otherwise uniform ensemble act. Some clothing becomes talismanic and is still worn, despite having all but fallen apart. These are all further insights into the mind of the dancer.
In a performing art that is meant to appear effortless, to communicate only the intention of the choreographer, the effort and sacrifice of the dancer is often hidden. Here they are revealed, allowing us to appreciate the essence of what it takes to be a dancer.
At once beautiful and brutal, these large scale portraits aim to lay bare and celebrate the emotional and physical determination that is required to succeed in an art form that is the very zenith of the human spirit, that in the words of Martha Graham, is truly ‘the language of the soul’.
Rick and Olivia have had the pleasure and honour of working with an astounding array of dancers and companies. The exhibition features such luminary dancers as Edward Watson, Tamara Rojo, Steven McRae, Marianela Nuñez, Alban Lendorf, Zenaida Yanowsky, Melissa Hamilton, as well as dancers from the English National Ballet, the Royal Ballet, the Dresden Semperoper, Wayne McGregor’s Random Dance, the Richard Alston Company and the Royal Danish Ballet. All art pieces are in a limited edition of six and will be for sale.
With an essay by Sarah Crompton and a foreword by Tamara Rojo, Director and Lead Principal of the English National Ballet. This book will be available from early December 2015, from
There will be a private view on the 21st of January, 2016, and then the exhibition will be open to the public from the 22nd to the 31st. It will be held at the Hospital Club Gallery, 24 Endell St, London, WC2H 9HQ.