Preparing for the Dance

Posted September 6th 2016

Earlier this year, I joined friend and fellow photographer Tom on a publicity shoot for the Cambridge University Ballet Club. The dancers were preparing for their upcoming production of Romeo and Juliet, and had asked for portraits for the programme and group pictures for promotional material. Tom had worked with the ballet club before, but for me this was a first small step into the world of dance photography.

The photoshoot began early on a bright, crisp January morning in the beautiful surroundings of St. John’s College. Tom took on most of the group photos while I concentrated mainly on individual shots, which suited me given my background in portraiture.

We were treated to some wonderful conditions for photography: soft light, colourful costumes, elegant dance poses, and the historic courtyard cloisters as a backdrop. The blues of the dresses and reds of the tunics stood out beautifully against the subtle, warm colours of the stonework. At one point I found myself slipping into fashion shoot mode, trying different portrait poses and locations with a couple of the dancers. The sight of a confused-looking Tom and a lengthening queue of shivering ballerinas soon set me straight!

Three hours later, we had a collection of shots that we were happy with, and which would soon be adorning social media profiles, promotional posters, and the event programme.

One of the things I enjoy about portrait photography is the way that it gives you the chance to meet different people and gain new perspectives. This was my first experience of ballet and, through subsequent assignments shared with Tom, I came to appreciate the beauty of this dance form and the skill, hard work, and dedication behind these productions.

In a later posting, I will write about our trip to rehearsals to take some shots for the club’s website.

If you like this article or have any comments, please leave a note for me using the form near the bottom of this page.

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