What happens when you combine one of the greatest painters of our time with one of the greatest dancers of our time?  This.

Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty

March 26–July 24, 2016

Blue Dancers, c.1899 (pastel), Edgar Degas (1834-1917) / Pushkin Museum, Moscow, Russia

Blue Dancers, c.1899 (pastel), Edgar Degas (1834-1917) / Pushkin Museum, Moscow, Russia

Who says you can’t start your dancing career at the ripe age of 13? Misty Copeland has defied stereotype after stereotype, pushing boundaries that stretch far beyond the methodical and calculated world of dance. In celebration of an upcoming exhibition at the New York Museum of Modern Art called “Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty,” Copeland used high fashion to flawlessly re-create Degas’ portraits and sculptures of ballerinas for the March issue of Harpers Bazaar. Dressed in Oscar de la Renta and Alexander McQueen, Copeland’s very posed work still maintains an aura of the fleeting, ephemeral aura we experience at the ballet, while simultaneously commentating on the work Degas created between the 1860’s and his death in 1917. 

 

Take a peek at some of Degas’ most celebrated work below and don’t forget to stop by the MoMA from March 26 – July 24

Dancers Bending Down (oil on canvas), Edgar Degas (1834-1917) / Private Collection / Photo © Christie's Images

Dancers Bending Down (oil on canvas), Edgar Degas (1834-1917) / Private Collection / Photo © Christie’s Images

“I definitely feel like I can see myself in that sculpture—she just seems content but also reserved,” Copeland told Harpers Bazaar. “I was really shy and introverted at that age. I don’t even have an image in my head of what I remember a ballerina being or existing before I took a ballet class. Ballet was just the one thing that brought me to life.” – Misty Copeland / Harpers Bazaar 

Ballet Rehearsal on the Stage, 1874 (oil on canvas), Edgar Degas (1834-1917) / Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France

Ballet Rehearsal on the Stage, 1874 (oil on canvas), Edgar Degas (1834-1917) / Musee d’Orsay, Paris, France

“It was interesting to be on a shoot and to not have the freedom to just create like I normally do with my body,” she says. “Trying to re-create what Degas did was really difficult. It was amazing just to notice all of the small details but also how he still allows you to feel like there’s movement.” – Misty Copeland / Harpers Bazaar 

The Star, or Dancer on the stage, c.1876-77 (pastel on paper) Edgar Degas (1834-1917) / Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France

The Star, or Dancer on the stage, c.1876-77 (pastel on paper) Edgar Degas (1834-1917) / Musee d’Orsay, Paris, France

“I see a great affinity between Degas’s dancers and Misty,” says Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem. “She has knocked aside a long-standing music-box stereotype of the ballerina and replaced it with a thoroughly modern, multicultural image of presence and power,” Golden says. “Misty reminds us that even the greatest artists are humans living real lives.” – Harpers Bazaar 

 

Dancers in blue, 1890 Edgar Degas (1834-1917) / Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France

Dancers in blue, 1890 Edgar Degas (1834-1917) / Musee d’Orsay, Paris, France

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