Ballet Des Moines in West Des Moines Iowa is home to performances, opportunities for young dancers to learn, and even art. Artist and illustrator Nathan T. Wright recently spent his residency at Ballet Des Moines studying what it means to be a dancer and how a dancer’s lifestyle, passion, and mindset can all be captured on the page. This study did not result in one or even a handful of pieces by the Des Moines artist, though. Nathan ended up creating an entire comic.
During a six-week on-site residency at the ballet studio, Wright developed a ten-page comic that would eventually be showcased at Mainframe Studios. When he pitched his residency to the ballet company, Wright said this, “The ballet and comics are two art forms that have never properly met.” As he developed his comic, he set out to introduce ballet and comics in a way that would not only blend the two worlds, but that would also capture the life of a dancer.
The comic shows a dancer waking up on a typical busy day, but things start to go astray before quickly delving into the uncanny. Despite all of the strange things happening to her, the dancer continues to perform, reassuring herself that she has rehearsed over and over for a moment like this that could potentially throw her off. The comic speaks to the dedication of dancers and that golden rule about the show continuing even when strange things happen. It is clear through every moment of the comic that the understanding of dancers that Wright developed at Ballet Des Moines is true to the art, and we can certainly consider ballet and comics properly acquainted under his artistic vision.
More information about the Ballet Des Moines Artist-in-Residency Program can be found here.