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Book Review: Still Point
Dance Photographs by Ronald Compton

By Patricia Boccadoro

PARIS, 15 December 1999 - Still Point is a glossy coffee-table book, appearing in the shops right in time for Christmas. Its author, Ronald Compton, Chief Executive Officer for a large insurance firm until his retirement early last year, took up dance photography , a highly specialised art, only a few years ago, and while his work is not without a certain merit, it is difficult to see it appealing to dance-lovers.

The few studio poses of classical dancers are without any interest whatsoever, while those of various hefty young women, plonked solidly on earth and reminding me of Picasso's Bathers, lack grace, refinement and originality. Frankly, there are a lot of rather ugly nudes, and nudes in dance have to have a reason; nudity does not reveal, but rather grounds. It stops movement, and all great dancers, from Pavlova, Duncan and Graham are always, whether classical or contemporary, garbed in transparent silk, or light floating chiffons.

The only text, apart from a lengthy interview with Compton himself, is scattered lines of poetry, presumably taken from a book of dance quotations. Quite frankly, outside Ronald Compton's immediate family and close circle of admirers, it is hard to see who will buy it.

Still Point
Dance Photographs

By Ronald Compton
Illustrated. 96 pp. New York
Aperture $35

Patricia Boccadoro writes on dance from Paris. She contributes to The Guardian, The Observer and Dancing Times and was dance consultant to the BBC Omnibus documentary on Rudolf Nureyev. Ms. Boccadoro is the dance editor for

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