Current Exhibition

Portrait of Xin Ying

I first met Ying close to 10 years ago. She was early in her career as a member of the Martha Graham Company and I was taking my first workshop in dance photography – so it was a particular point in time for both us. Since then, I have been fortunate to follow her personal and artistic trajectory, and have photographed her numerous times both on stage and in my studio.

 

Ying is an extraordinary force of nature – driven, passionate, determined and, unequivocally an artist.

Born and raised in Heilongjiang in the far northeast of China – she told me they would get up to 30 feet of snow! – she initially trained as a child in Chinese folk and traditional dance, before moving 2000 miles with her mother to Sichuan province in Southwest China where she went to school and started her adult life as a dancer and teacher – receiving the Dance Lotus Award in 2008 and working as the Director of Dance at the Sichuan College of Arts and Culture.

And then a tragedy occurred that, as she described it to me years ago, transformed her life. An earthquake and a massive set of landslides and mudslides struck Sichuan and Ying found herself carrying victims on planks into a hospital – and it was then that she decided to dramatically change her life’s journey.

 

She applied for and received a scholarship to study at the Martha Graham School in New York and arrived in the US knowing no one and speaking no English – just the language of dance and her belief in her destiny as a modern dancer in the US.

Her progress has been meteoric, joining the Martha Graham Company in 2011 and rising quickly to become a Principal dancer, performing lead roles in both classic Martha Graham pieces, and new work by a host of contemporary choreographers.

 

She is also a devoted mother and spouse and has been able to create work life balance that has enriched and strengthened her development as a dancer and choreographer.

This portrait series reveals the multifaceted aspects of Ying’s personality, and also represents her as an artist at the peak of her powers:

 

Elegant and Glamorous
Magnetic and mysterious
Humorous but Fierce
Confident and Daring
Bold and Bewitching
Strong and Seductive

 

And above all an amazing collaborator! It was a privilege to work with her on this project, and I hope (as always) that you see her as clearly as I do.

Other Work

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