John R. Johnsen – Dance in the mirror

22 May 2012 - 22 September 2012 The National Museum of Photography
Photo: John R. Johnsen
Photo: John R. Johnsen

The Danish dance photographer John R. Johnsen is internationally recognized for his sensuous photographs of dancers recorded over the past five decades. A significant part of his immense collection of photographs of ballet and modern dance is to be seen in this retrospective exhibition .

Drama, movement, sensuality and passion are keywords in Johnsens photographic depictions from the world of dance. The exhibition Dance in the Mirror depicts an enchanting universe, reaching from the tulle skirts of Bournonville ballerinas to The New York City Ballet’s dancers in t-shirts and swimsuits.

In the exhibition we meet elegant, muscular bodies captured close up so that even drops of sweat are visible. The dancer’s movements are frozen the very moment they were unfolded in coarse grained black-and-white photographs.


Johnsen began his career in the 1960’s at Maurice Béjart’s Le Ballet du XXe Siècle. From 1970-1995 he was an established photographer at The Royal Ballet in Copenhagen. Beside his recordings of ballet and modern dance, he has photographed Japanese butoh-dancers and the great masters of jazz.