A JOURNEY TO THE SOUL OF THE BOLSHOI FROM THE HAND OF SASHA GUSOV

A work offering a completely unknown view of one of the oldest, most prestigious dance companies in the world

Rehearsals, waiting in the wings to go onstage, dancers in their dressing rooms preparing to perform, and great moments in the ballet’s visits to London between 1993 and 2016 are some of the images the book captures

The 110 black-and-white photographs making up the volume are accompanied by an introduction by film director Andrei Konchalovsky

180 pages / English / 32 x 24 cm. / Retail price 65€ / ISNB 978-84-17048-10-5

Download images The Bolshoi

The relationship between the Bolshoi Ballet and the city of London is a love story whose origin stretches back to the late eighteenth century.  Not for nothing was it an English entrepreneur, Michael Maddox, who with Prince Urusov cofounded the Petrowsky Theatre in 1789—the first permanent opera theatre in Moscow and predecessor of the Bolshoi Theatre, which opened its doors on October 20, 1856, Czar Alexander II’s coronation day.

The Bolshoi became home to one of the oldest and most prestigious classical ballet companies in the world, an ambassador for Russian classical ballet to the whole world, especially after the birth of the Soviet Union.

Starting in the fifties, the Bolshoi’s London visits became a constant, eagerly awaited by audiences faithful to the Russian company’s performances.

In The Bolshoi, the latest title published by La Fábrica, the Russian photographer Sasha Gusov brings together 110 black-and-white images of unique moments and footage from the company’s London visits between 1993 and 2016.

This book displays the heart of the company, through the eyes not only of an expert photographer but of a lover deeply familiar with this company, which offers a unique perspective on the essence of ballet.

Rehearsals, makeup sessions, costume details, portraits or candid shots of the dancers in their moments of greatest concentration, just before going onstage, make up an as yet unseen view of this great company.  Sasha Gusov brings us close to these performers, showing the viewer their most intimate, unknown side.

As film director Andrei Konchalowsky notes in his introduction to the images, “Gusov’s photos are not a reflection of life, but of that unrepeatable coincidence of time and space that the artist has captured with his camera.  Looking at these photos you can imagine how the moment was, even the sound.”

Thus, The Bolshoi offers a social, narrative and esthetic vision of the company’s day-to-day life, preparing and performing great works of classical ballet like Swan Lake, Giselle, Don Quixote, or Spartacus.

From his own personal way of seeing, Gusov is able to capture a unique, unrepeatable instant, suspended in time.  And it is precisely this original and intimate way of looking and the ability to capture an unrepeatable moment on the fly that turns a photograph into a work of art.  As Konchalovsky states, “In a photograph, the artist’s personality shows not in the quality of the image, but in his way of seeing an unrepeatable moment in life.  The art of photography is the ability to see and gather up those moments that surround reality and present new dimensions of the various phenomena.”

About the author

Sasha Gusov is a photographer specializing in portraits and music, dance, and classical ballet photography, living in England since 1989.  In 1993, his photographic project Images of the Bolshoi Ballet gained him international recognition.  Gusov’s work has been widely published around the world.  His photography books include 25 Years in Photography, 2014; Belarus: Terra Incognita, 2010; Royal Parks, 2011; Locusts, 2008; Italian Carousel, 2003; or Shooting Images, 2011.

A JOURNEY TO THE SOUL OF THE BOLSHOI FROM THE HAND OF SASHA GUSOV