(Art+Culture)(Fashion+Retail)NORMANDY CARNET #CreativeDirection #Campaign @Normandy

The black and white photographs in this book were taken by the British photographer Tex Bishop during the summer of 2015. They document events at the Ecole Danse Classique Chantal Ruault, a dance school in Caen, Normandy that is run and maintained by Francis Malovik, a former dancer and incumbent maître de ballet. Bishop was once a dancer, too, and these photographs reflect both his sustained interest in the art form and his ongoing fascination with Malovik, by whom Bishop was once taught. That was seven years ago, when the photographer was 16 and studying an adaptation of Franz Kafka’s “The Castle”. Bishop was then the object of Malovik’s scrutiny. Here, the tables are turned.

Malovik once performed with Rudolf Nureyev, and the great Russian dancer features throughout the school. In an office, a framed poster of Nureyev hangs above a television on which Malovik and his students watch and re-watch the great performances. (Video tapes lie in unruly stacks nearby.) More posters hang above the studio space, a large, plain room that is lined by polished wooden bars and floor-to-ceiling mirrors. It is here where students gather, gossip, learn, repeat. Some are as young as eight or nine years old. There are girls and boys, all lithe and acutely flexible. Patient parents steal glances around raw concrete corners.

Students that are local to the school use it as a kind of springboard, a platform from which to gain access to well-heeled conservatoires around France—in Paris, Lille, Nice—and sometimes further afield. Those who make it often come back, in the summer months, to maintain their standard during the holidays. Malovik and his wife, Chantal, who established the school, live nearby, in a house that acts as an extension of the studio and which is frequently visited by students. Young dancers come and go; older dancers stay for the summer. “Everyone there is either watching dance,” Bishop says, “or discussing steps.”

Malovik is a heavy presence throughout these photographs. He is there in the flesh—jotting down steps, stretching—and he is there in the objects Bishop has captured in accidental set pieces. But he seems most present in the smiles and careful forms of his students, which abound in Bishop’s pictures. It is for them, after all, that Malovik runs the school.

Photography by Tex Bishop
Text by Alex Moshakis

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