Posts Tagged ‘Royal Ballet’

Monday was a great day for me. It was very laxed. I did not have to be in town until the afternoon so I was able to take my time and ease into the day. It also marked the near ending of my trip, which was bittersweet for me.

Today I had a shoot @ 1pm with Tom Whitehead, soloist with Royal Ballet. This was actually for Barre Boys, but may use an image or two for Londons Calling. Tom and I met at the stage door of the Royal Opera House. We greeted each other with warm smiles and handshakes as we made our way over to the old police station. Our poses were simple yet very impactful. He was in jeans, sneaks and a white tee, so we had him hanging off the railing and such. As we were shooting, Sian Murphy, also of RB, walked by with her sign class. We all exchanged hellos then resumed shooting. One of her friends saw the shot I was composing and needed one so he sent Sian over to recreate that pose with her, which I grabbed a shot of. Then I asked Sian to play photographer and grab a shot of Tom and I as *I* recreated that pose, hanging from the railing as Tom posed in a chill fashion behind me. What a fun thing to have a member of the RB take your picture with another member of the RB. Sian was a very sweet & warm person! I made sure to message her later on saying a proper hello and introduction.

After the shoot, Tom and I headed to a local restaurant and enjoyed a very engaging conversation over a couple of beers. This was just awesome! We talked about how he got into ballet, his life, goals, etc. We talked about me, my story, Dominic and Hope Dances and of course, my wonderful family. I was very touched by the fact that Tom was as interested in learning about me that I was him. We chatted about hip hop and how we are both working on some paralells with ballet and hip hop. After close to two hours, it was time to say good bye. We walked to the opera house and parted ways. The one amazing thing about working with Tom and our lengthy conversation was there was never at one point where it felt awkward. I immediately felt comfortable and it quite resembled two old friends chatting over a few pints. I very much enjoyed the comfortability this encounter presented. Tom is a wonderful guy and I am truly honored to know him. I very much look forward to working with him again and strongly feel that as he and I have similar passions, it is envitible that we will be working together in the future!

What a very great day this was!!!

YIKES and WOW!!!! I can’t believe I leave in 5 days!!!!

So, the room I thought I had in Kensington is apparently not booked by me. Woooopsy! I am now staying at a Best Western in Watford?

Day 1:
My flight departs Philly at 9:50 Tuesday night. I arrive in London, Heathrow at 10am Wed morning. I will find my way to the hotel to check in then head back over to London to shoot. My first shoot is at 2pm with Desiree Ballantyne of ENB. Then I have some down time and go to see Mariinsky at 7ish do Don Q!

Day 2:
I have a shoot with James Burcher for Barre Boys in the morning then I meet up with Deanna Pearson for a shoot at 1pm. I met Deanna at the BIBC in May. She will be at the Royal School. Later that evening I will be meeting up with the gals from the Ballet Bag.

Day 3:
As of now, this is a slow work day, which is good! I will be working with Max Westwell of ENB for Barre Boys.

Day 4:
I am working with Ruth Brill and Araminta Wraith both of ENB.

Day 5:
I have a day off, completely??? WHAT? Odd.

Day 6:
Shooting with Elsa Goddard of ENB and Tom Whitehead of Royal Ballet.

Day 7:
I am working with Laura McCulloch of Royal Ballet. this one is very special to me as she was in the RB when I shot them back in 2007. she is in my RB gallery from swan lake. So this is a wonderful moment for me!!

Day 8: I come home. My flight leaves London at noon.

*** There are others I am still working on that haven’t been confirmed yet…

This London trip has a very special meaning to me! The first ballet I ever shot was Royal Ballet’s Swan Lake. I wrote a blog about it a year or so ago and have posted it below. While I am in London next month, I get the distinct pleasure of working with a couple of the girls that were on stage that night! Little did I know when I took the job at the Mann Center, how life changing that show would be for me. So I am very excited to be experiencing this circle of life moment over there!

Here is a pic from the show:

Here is the blog I wrote for Dance.com:

I began my dance photography career with my first shoot in March of 2007. This was also my re-entry into professional photography, period! A year after graduating from photography school in 1997, I had put down my camera for a long time. I actually despised it. This was in part due to a bad job at a local mall studio doing cookie cutter portraits. That is not why I got into photography. I wanted to create social pieces – stories & essays that made a difference in society. I wanted to collaborate with poets and spoken word. I also think it was due in part to a sense of failure in my new chosen field. So a defense mechanism it was. At the birth of my son in 2001, I began to fiddle again. Mostly just him crawling, etc. My daughter arrived in 2003 and I found myself without time now with 2 children. I felt I always maintained a “passion” or eye for it. I tinkered off and on for a few years.

Fast Forward…

I was managing a produce department for a local market and the store manager was adjusting lights in my department which led us to talk about photography. Turns out he was also an avid photographer and also shot with canon, my brand of choice! Through various signs I received, I knew I was being called to photography in a serious way. Not as a hobbyist, but to pursue whole heartedly and see it through. So, I bought a digital camera from Bill, the store director and decided to invest in studio equipment.

In March of 2007, I was approached by my best friend who was the Artistic Director of a local hip hop dance company. They had a concert coming up at the Wilma Theater as part of their DanceBoom series. His show was titled “Look Ma No Feet.” We were at the shoot til 1am, but it was fun. To date, it garnished some of the most ground breaking images I have been a part of creating! The buzz and acclaim that came from that shoot, gave me the direction of dance photography. I started working with the studio he rehearsed out of – photo day stuff mostly and some stuff for the teachers.

That July, I heard a radio spot that the Royal Ballet was coming to Philly. I contacted the presenter and asked if I could shoot the show. I was fortunate to be granted permission to shoot the last performance of Swan Lake. What an amazing experience!! The sets and their grandeur were breathtaking. The beautiful dancers filling the stage with their eloquent articulation of lines were nothing short of magical. It was my first ballet I ever attended let alone shot. Little did I know the impact this performance would have on me and my career!

I was hooked on ballet!! That show was a major influence and impact on the direction my career would take. I knew nothing really about the Royal Ballet and never really followed them after it. I would check the site from time to time. I bought a behind the scenes book and would see if they were heading back stateside. Ok, so perhaps I did follow just a bit. That show, for me, was the equivalent of a child at Disney. It was magical and whimsical – bigger than life!

So I spent the next few years working with ballerinas, learning and understanding lines, etc. I was determined to be successful at it. One of the things that fueled my determination was the precision of it but also the challenge of that. It is very black and white. There is no hiding in ballet. It forces you to be on top of your game. I love that structure. I crave it. I need it. For me, there is no more beautiful or truer art form then ballet. For me, it’s like home. Royal Ballet did this to me!

The other night, I was online chatting with a dancer and we were talking about our upcoming shoot. She asked how I got into dance so I gave her my back story. In it, I mention that I had the good fortune to shoot Swan Lake and I forwarded her a link to a gallery of images from the shoot. Ironically, she recognized one of the dancers from it who now dances in ABT with her. I was sooo excited!!! I immediately established contact by “friend requesting her.” I then followed that with a private message and link to one of the images of her and inquired whether or not that was in fact her. She responded with equal excitement!!!

OH WHAT AN AMAZING MOMENT!!!! I mean it was sheer luck I shot Swan Lake to begin with. Then randomly, 3 years later, a chance encounter with one of the dancers that were on stage for the single show that changed my life and molded my career. I conveyed to Caroline just what kind of impact that performance had on me and my career. You can’t write a better script then that!!! It’s kind of bringing my career around full circle again. I am always grateful and humbled by the opportunities presented to me and the wonderful people I have been fortunate to meet and work with! I have accomplished a lot and grown a lot in a substantially short period of time. It has been fun though.

As I always say, it is about the experiences you have along your journey. In my case, a ROYAL JOURNEY!

Here is the gallery of images:

Wow!!! Only 18 days til I leave for London!!! I so can’t wait!!! We have shoot lined up with dancers from ENB, RB and more!

I am exhausted and kind of blogged out for now. I will give something heartier soon!