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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Eleni Leoussi

Dates:  1946 -
Born:  Greece, Athens
Active:  UK
Dance photography.
Frances Palmer, 1999, Dancing Times
Rehearsal, Photographs of Dance is and extraordinary collection of fine art photographs by internationally renowned dance photographer, Eleni Leoussi, best known in the UK for her photographs of the British ‘alternative’ contemporary dance scene of the 1970’s and 1980’s. Having come to London from Athens, Greece, in the late 1960’s to study photography, Leoussi began to specialise in dance photography in 1971. This, her first book, is, amongst other things, a sophisticated visual record of that search for independence and identity of the late 1960’s and early ‘70s of British modern dance. Most of the original independents are featured – Richard Alston, Emilyn Claid, Siobham Davies, Maedée Duprès, Dennis Greenwood, Jacky Lansley, Geoff Moore, Sally Potter, Ian Spink. Glancing through the book one senses a photographer entirely at ease with her environment: intense images which are by turns eccentric, sensuous, introspective, and sensitive capture a particular mood of dissent which more conventional dance photographs from that time do not always achieve.
Leoussi retains many of her early associations. Her stunning publicity stills for Grace and Glitter, for example, memorably shot in Bethnal Green Baths, were part of a rebranding of Extemporary Dance Theatre under the artistic directorship of Emilyn Claid in 1986. Leoussi’s more recent works, however, shows a greater tendency towards opera and other dramatic productions: DV8 and Maurice Béjart feature amongst the subjects from the 1990’s. Overall, there are significantly fewer pictures of ballet subjects, but John Raven, Galina Samsova, and Lynn Seymour make brief appearances in Leoussi’s “Rehearsal”.
Leoussi’s distinctive style has an appealing atmospheric quality, the photographs are rather shadowy and, technically speaking, ‘grainy’. In them all, movement and stillness are always present but, unusually for dance photographs, are not exclusively the subject. The images are unpredictable, and non-comformist, but peculiarly personal, and strangely affecting.

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Eva Vassiliou
Eleni Leoussi 
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Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website
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