Harper’s Bazaar USA – August 2021
English | 114 pages | pdf | 69.27 MB
I remember coming to New York in the early ’90s to visit my brother and seeing Savion Glover perform with Gregory Hines at the Joyce Theater. I left feeling like I’d been to church and seen God. That performance moved me so profoundly that it has stayed with me to this day.
I never fully grasped the magnitude of what the performing arts contribute to our culture until this past year when, due to the pandemic, every theater went dark. Dance, music, drama, comedy, and all of the other wondrously diverse forms of live performance
we create and experience are the ultimate expression and reflection of our collective humanity.
To herald the return of the stage, we decided to dedicate this issue to performance. We wanted to celebrate performers who, for the duration of the pandemic, have been relegated to barre exercises at their kitchen counters, Zoom plays, and live-streamed stand-up shows. We also wanted to look at what it means for each of us, on a personal level, to perform in our daily lives.
As one of the world’s biggest supermodels, our cover star, Gigi Hadid, knows too well the demands of performance, adapting her gaze and body language for Collier Schorr’s lens. With more than 67 million followers on Instagram, she is navigating the balance between what she shares and performs for the public and what she keeps private and sacred—a boundary that feels more pressing now that she is a mother to 10-month-old Khai. “I deal with a lot of things through just sitting and thinking and writing,” she tells writer Durga Chew-Bose.
In a vibrant portfolio, photographer Amy Troost captures some of the dance world’s biggest stars, among them American Ballet Theatre’s Misty Copeland, Alvin Ailey’s Courtney Celeste Spears, Martha Graham’s Lloyd Knight—and, to bring it full circle, Savion Glover. In an accompanying story by Siobhan Burke, the dancers expound on how the past year has forced a long-overdue internal reckoning in dance, a space that has often been resistant to change and weighed down by tradition. “People really want to make changes within the system in a way I’ve never witnessed before,” Copeland says.
Of course, performance isn’t just what we see on a stage. We are performing every day to project different versions of ourselves. Clothes are an essential part of this daily performance. In a tender essay, the Tony-nominated playwright Jeremy O. Harris writes about how fashion enabled his self-expression. As a kid growing up in Virginia, Harris explains, clothes “protected me and helped uplift me in a world that never had space for a little Black boy from the South.”
Watching a great performance, like the one I saw years ago with Savion Glover and Gregory Hines, like the ones we’re going to be able to see again, is a reminder that every time we step on stage or even walk into a room, there is an opportunity to do and be something new. It is a chance to change the way we understand one another and recognize our own potential