Photographic Alphabet: C is for Sebastian Cvitanic
By Leah Pfenning
I have this childhood memory, I was maybe six or seven, of being taken to the Boston Nutcracker. I got to wear new patent leather Mary Janes and a green sparkly dress with tulle trimming that cupcaked when I twirled. Walking into the grand foyer of the Boston Opera House with dozens of other cupcake girls and velvet women, I thought the whole ballet was the lobby - how could it get any better?
But then the curtains parted and Clara danced me into a hypnosis of magic. It snowed on stage. My god. It snowed on stage. After that night I spent the whole year dreaming of the sugar plum fairy. I would reenact the ballet, enlisting stuffed tigers and bears to play my rat kings and nutcracker heroes. And although I’ve outgrown my sparkly green dress, when I hear the eponymous suite I still swoon with the feeling that ballet gave me, an insoluble magic.
In her poem, Flirtation Rita Dove croons, “There are ways to make of the moment a topiary so the pleasure’s in walking through.” Photographer Sabastian Cvitanic makes such topiaries of the ephemeral for us to enjoy again and again, twirling us out of time and into the magnificent grandeur of dance with his series Ballet. Cvitanic’s work celebrates the divine femininity of ballerinas. The staging is minimal and the lighting soft, both of which lend the focus to the hazy, nostalgic grace of a dancer.
The series was shot in various locales from New York to Seattle, where the photographer is based. Sebastian Cvitanic is a self-taught photographer and perhaps his humble approach to his work can be attributed to this. It’s almost as if he is enchanted by the dancers he photographs, and through his lens, we too are enchanted. Cvitanic’s photos are a celebration of ballet, and a gift to those who want to relive the unbridled wonder of a dance.