Swimming through the Pedway via Joffrey Ballet artists
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In the coming weeks, you will be able to catch Joffrey Ballet dancer Fabrice Calmels on stage in performances of “The Nutcracker” running Dec. 4-27 at the Auditorium Theatre.
But from now through late January you also will be able to glimpse him “swimming” along the walls of Chicago’s Pedway (the span that runs from Block 37 to City Hall, and is open Monday through Friday only until 6 p.m.) thanks to the installation of “Swimmer300.” This fascinating mural is comprised of a series of paintings created by veteran Joffrey Ballet photographer and artist Herbert Migdoll.
Presented in association with the Chicago Architectural Biennial, and with a look forward to Navy Pier’s 100th anniversary celebrations in 2016, “Swimmer300,” takes the form of a dozen photographic panels (with acrylic and oil enamel on mesh) spanning a total of 300 feet.
According to Migdoll, the work was inspired by the Joffrey Ballet’s re-creation of “Afternoon of a Faun,” the ballet choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky in 1912. The story told in the ballet concerns a young faun (Calmels, now the swimmer in the painting), who encounters a beautiful nymph to whom he is wildly attracted. He pursues her, and she leaves behind a scarf (worn here by Calmels) as a token of her affection.
Migdoll says his painting is to be understood as an “epilogue” to the story, as well as a work that captures “the beauty of the Joffrey Ballet.”
Discussions are underway about a possible outdoor installation of the work as part of Navy Pier’s 100th anniversary celebrations next year. A couple of sites are currently being considered, with the end goal that it is built out like a buoy system overlooking Lake Michigan.