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Monday, November 14, 2011

Degas and dancers at The Phillips

The entrance to the Phillips's 90th birthday party/Patricia Leslie

Students from the Kirov Academy of Ballet at The Phillips/Patricia Leslie

Edgar Degas Self-Portrait 1855/Musee d'Orsay, Paris, Wikimedia Commons

A few came for the free Degas show at The Phillips/Patricia Leslie

A birthday party at The Phillips with guest artist, Edgar Degas/Patricia Leslie

Birthday dancing at The Phillips/Patricia Leslie

At The Phillips/Patricia Leslie

A week+ late? C'est la vie!

Whoever thought a public 90th birthday party with a major guest artist would be anything but crowded needs to see another doctor.

The Phillips was just as packed for its free birthday fete as anyone might have imagined, and more. When I arrived about 1:30 p.m., I somehow and fortunately missed the lines and slipped in, and, about an hour later, overcome by crowds, elbows, docents, and students saying "please, do not...," discovered about 70 persons standing outside on a lovely fall day, awaiting admission.

In addition to breathtaking and romantic pieces of art which make up the exhibition, the people found inside, tiny but real teen-aged ballerinas in full costume from Washington's Kirov Academy of Ballet School slowly dancing to taped music. Like porcelain dolls in an expensive music box, the ballerinas could have been models themselves for Degas who, a label said, made more than 1,500 works about dancing. Thirty of them are in the show.  Whoever had the Kirov idea deserves special kudos.

Yes, the Degas (1834-1917) show is definitely worth seeing, and yes! The price to see it ($10 or $12)

with generally unobstructed views (one may imagine) is definitely a good value. (Or join the Phillips for $60 (on up) and pay nothing extra for special shows.)
What: Degas’s Dancers at the Barre: Point and Counterpoint
When: Now through January 8, 2012, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday with extended hours on Thursday until 8:30 p.m., and 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., Sunday
Where: The Phillips Collection, 1600 21st Avenue, NW (near Q and 21st)
How much: $12 (adults) and $10 (seniors and students). Free for members and children under age 18.
Metro stop: Dupont Circle (Q Street exit)
For more information: 202-387-2151

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