Working with two very different dance companies in just two days.

I was lucky to be able to work with two dynamic dance companies in two consecutive days. The first was the Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater, which brings the energy of Harlem to Portland and the second was Portland Contemporary Ballet—for their 2019 season titled White Dress, which is a metaphor for ‘a choice that needs to be made’.

REJOICE! DIASPORA DANCE THEATER

The effort between the photographer and the dancer is a collaborative one. Dance is a continuous movement, but dance photography is about stopping time, of presenting dance as a singular movement. My responsibility to the dancer is to create an image that conveys the essence of what they do in a single image and in the perfect position.

Dancer in yellow dress on red background
Suspension of time and motion; one reason I love what I do. Capturing quiet moments like this take more work that you’d expect. She’s spinning, dancing, in motion.

For Rejoice!, the goal was to embrace a color palette and to create dynamic energy through that use of color. I was challenged to create visuals that heighten the contemporary and classic African dance roots. That meant finding moments, finding poses, and freezing a moment that hints at the joy and energy of this company. These dancers were fun and collaborative—they truly carry emotion through their bodies, and into their dance.

PORTLAND CONTEMPORARY BALLET

Ballerina with white dress flowing
I was thrilled to work with Muriel Capdepon of Portland Contemporary Dance for their 2018/19 season.

People ask all the time…’how did you get that job?’ In this case, Therese reached out to Portland Contemporary Ballet to ask for a favor. In doing that, she befriended artistic director Briley Neugebauer . And that led to this incredible shoot for their 2018/19 season brochure!

Portland Contemporary Ballet, featuring, Muriel Capdepon, Victoria Lauder, Katherine Evans, Sara Gilbert, Carla Coelho, Tessa Salomone and Ella Matweyou
Ballerina posing on pointe wearing white dress
Ballerina Muriel Capdepon wearing the white dress.

Capturing quiet moments like this take more work that you’d expect. We started our full day shoot with ballerina Muriel Capdepon wearing the white dress. She makes this pose look simple, but it’s exactly the opposite. Holding that position was near impossible, and the dress wasn’t being cooperative.

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