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Alan Lynes was a dancer with the Peter Reed Ballet Company. The rope may be part of the bondage practices of sado-masochistic sex, but here, in connection with the dancing pose and plaited hair, the main reference point is to the dancing satyr (half-man, half-animal) of ancient Greek mythology, such as one can see on classical vases. This relates to Mapplethorpe’s interest in classical art, which influenced many of his nudes. He was also an avid collector of vases. Formally, the image is an exercise in curves and arabesques.