Portfolio: Behind the Curtain at the New York City Ballet

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“This is the secret,” says photographer Henry Leutwyler. “To completely blend in, to become invisible.” Leutwyler spent last winter as the most observant ghost in New York City Ballet’s rehearsal studios, capturing the uncommonly raw backstage images that now compose Ballet, which is both a book (out in December from Steidl) and an exhibit (on view at Foley Gallery November 28 through January 6). The shots here exemplify the peek-behind-the-curtain feel of Leutwyler’s photos, from an open crate of tutus (“like pizzas in a restaurant”) to a ballerina’s feet after a day of matinée and evening performances (“when the feet are demolished”). “If I had to title the picture, I would call it Reality and Dreams,” says Leutwyler. “The foot en pointe is what every little girl dreams of. The other is the hard, hard work, and the reality.”

*This article originally appeared in the December 3, 2012 issue of New York Magazine.

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