I’ve long wanted to do some dance photography but never quite done gotten there. Since starting my own dance school, Offbeat Ballet, I realise I’m now in a good position to do some!
How do you photograph dance? Having no idea, I googled ‘Dance photography tips’ and I’m totally up on it all now ;-P (How did the world function before google? I suppose I’d have dug out my photography course notes and tried to apply them to dancing.)
Happily, the google search helped me work out where to begin. It’s basically sports photography with really low light. Right. We covered sports photography in my course! No worries!
Uh, well… we’ll see. Technique revisited, next is … what kind of photography do I want to do? Let’s look at my dance pinterest board … I’ve picked a few to analyse what I like about them
I love kids dancing. Kids crowding round watching an older girl, the teacher, or these days, a youtube clip on their teacher’s tablet is a scene I’ve seen over and over. It is showing a reality of dance, and I love it.
I like the setting, I like the outfit. I’m not excited by the pose. Having your leg up round your ear is cliched. Sure, it has its place wowing people who don’t dance and inspiring (or intimidating!) people who do. But eh, I’m just not interested in adding more photographs like this to the world’s ballet photography files. (She also looks kind of wedged in there. Not very dancy to me.)
I do, however, love the concept of taking ballet out of the studios and off the stages and into the real world. Adding a sprinkling of fairy dust to everyday reality, and adding a depth to ballet that it may not have otherwise.
I like this. It’s almost as classic a pose as the leg up near the ear, but the setting, the lighting, are saying things, it’s telling a story, this picture. She looks like she’s about to bring her leg up and around and dance the story out.
Another story, but one not fully told. Who is she? Where is she going? Why is she dressed like that? I also like the monochrome effect too without it being black and white.
I’m in two minds about this one. I love the fact this dancer isn’t the stereotypical skinny woman. But … is it being a bit apologetic by being so otherwise stereotypical in pose and outfit? Either way, I love the shape of her limbs.
Ah, Degas. I love love love Degas. I think that’s a whole post (or ten!) to itself.
Another monochrome. Love the details – the scissors and string. I also like the anonymity, as if ballet is a person unto itself. The ballerina becomes a mix of the person they are and the dance form itself.
To be honest I think I’ve picked this one out coz I want to wear the costume myself – on or off stage!
Her stockings! The wrinkles around the knees! She shape of her legs, that leaning back as if in fatigue, very Degas. Another monochrome.
Some conclusions from all these? I seem to be drawn to that interplay between the reality of dance as the dancer experiences it, and the ‘fairy dust’ magic of the finished ballet product on stage.