I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am about the new season of performances that the Columbia City Ballet will be showing this year. Being blessed enough to be the photographer working behind the scenes is one thing, but the shots that I get back make everything worth it. You see, it’s not easy shooting the ballet. Let me tell you why.
It is a low light level nightmare to work with for starters. Some photographers depend on their flash to get them through a gig. With the ballet, there is no flash. Just the stage lights from the top and the sides are available, and they are always changing during the show. Which means that I am constantly moving through settings to find the right one. I venture to say that is why I usually come away with 700-1000 shots from the night, that gets whittled down to 100-150 in post edit. Not to mention or complain, but most of the time I am on the floor looking up at everyone’s ass. At first, you might think that is somewhat exciting, until the dudes walk by and I am face to face with someone’s junk. 😀
I like to get close to the ground because I can catch reflections off of the floor. You wouldn’t think so, but for some reason the light catches just right and I can get real drama added from the floor. Simple things like the reflection of a pointe shoe meeting the floor, get me excited about what it is that I do.
What’s even more exciting, is that I feel as if I am documenting an art form that seems forgotten because of things like “Twerking.” The ballet, as sensual and intimate as it is, is more about the human condition and the emotions that are surrounding it. Twerking is just about sex. It is some weird mating ritual that has spawned from the over-sexed imagination of people dropping one dollar bills in strip clubs. Don’t get me wrong, dance is an art form that is inspired by the music playing. That means that if the music that is inspiring the dance is in poor taste, then the dance going with it is in poor taste too.
This season has some of the favorites that we have come to know and love. The pure dark sensuality of Dracula, matched with the child-like joy that comes from The Nutcracker are sure to make the lens on my camera happy. The surprise this year for me is the ballet being done to The Beatles. I can’t imagine anyone walking out of that disappointed. When I think of the costumes that will be worn, combined with the stories that the songs tell, I think of pure artistic possibilities.
It is weird how your tastes can change. 20 years ago, you would not have caught me dead in a ballet. It is not because I was threatened by it in any way. It is more because I was completely close minded about art and what it means. Art draws an emotion out of the viewer. It can be a happy emotion or a bad one, it doesn’t matter, as long as the emotion is there. This season, take a little time out of your day and go and support the arts. Catch a ballet with someone you love and get inspired to live differently.