Regularly we see dancers in our studio that come to us saying ‘I don’t take very good pictures’. These are often really beautiful dancers who have trained at wonderful schools or who are already with a company. They often know what they look like in a mirror but don’t know why what they see in the mirror doesn’t translate to a photo or a screen.
Katherine Duffy, Dancer Photo Rachel Neville
I explain to the dancers that work with me that it is not that a matter of “I never look good in dance photos” just that they just need to finesse the poses and find the lines and shapes that work for them. Sometimes small details need to be altered for the perspective to work in 2D. Sometimes it’s the angle or the shape of the leg or a specific shoulder line that needs to be adjusted. We have explored these ideas here on the blog and in my studio.
But today I want to talk about something new that I’ve been working with over the last year: identifying dancers who are more movers rather than posers.
Jordan Miller, Dancer Photo Rachel Neville
A few months ago I had a shoot with a gorgeous dancer from City Ballet. Just beautiful. A dream to watch. But when it came time to get down to shooting specific movements she had a hard time getting her lines, and specifically, her arms to look the way we wanted. She became frustrated and almost gave up. Really, the challenge for this dancer, who was used to a fast paced, flowing, moving environment in her work, was to slow down, breathe, and align with the details to get great shots.
Over the next couple of months, I started working to identify those dancers that I would categorize as ‘movers’ and those that are ‘posers’. And yes, my little internal, completely non-scientific experiment seemed to work.
Hayley Tavonatti, Dancer Photo Rachel Neville
Once a dancer was identified to be a mover, one who loves to flow, move quickly, whose energy is felt best emulated through fluid motion, I started working differently with them. We would pause, talk about the pose we were working on, breathe, slow down, get the muscle memory in place to build the shot. Once all the pieces were in place, we would then go back to performing it with the dancer’s energy and emotion. The results tended to be much more successful for them.
Now ask yourself, are you a mover or a poser? How does it affect your dancing? Could you benefit from slowing down, taking a breath and fine tuning the details before jumping back in? Or are you more of a poser who may get caught up in the details and need to throw some energy around, and just go for it now and then?
Drop us a line if you have a thought or found this helpful!