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David Michalek’s large-scale video installation, SLOWDANCING/NYCB, provided a deep dive into the distinctive archive and style of New York City Ballet.

In a triptych of hyper-slow-moving images, 45 films, representing 30 ballets — from Balanchine’s Apollo (1928) to Justin Peck’s Copland Dance Episodes (2023)  were shown in celebration of the 2024-25 75th Anniversary Season. Extreme slowness allowed for altered/transformed states of perception and modes of understanding, with each video magnifying certain qualities in the artistry, physical strength, and technique of the 20 featured Company members, but also in the distinctive stylistic vocabulary, actions, and ideas that are hallmarks of the Company. Each segment, composed of myriads of “micro-moments”— worlds within worlds — offered itself at once both as a spatial whole to be scanned by the eye and a time-span to be crossed sequence by sequence, presenting the chance to find meaning in them, and glean the underlying mechanics of how they are constructed and performed.

David Michalek is an American visual artist and director whose work is closely tied to an interest in the contemporary person, which he explores through the use of live performance, filmmaking, photography, drawing, installation, relational aesthetics, and public projects. His work often concentrates on carefully-staged marginal moments that develop density with minimal action through interplays of image, sound, and decelerated time. Exploring notions of durational and rhythmic time, his works engage and generate intimate yet open-ended narratives.