Photography and dance, two arts without geographical borders

Many people are attracted by the photography due to its ability to communicate ideas, emotions and thoughts. Contrary to verbal and written communication, which inevitably depend on the language, photography as well as dance don’t need any kind of translation. Both are able to communicate and transmit, regardless of each one’s origin. I will try to fix some reference points of these two arts, photography and dance, in order to create photos that can combine the best of these two disciplines.

I begin with the premise that dance photography requires a lot of practice and knowledge of the equipment, and not so much for the quality of the image you want to capture, but above all for being able to communicate, with a static image, something that is expressed through the movement.

The photo of a ballet must tell the story of the ballet, itself, because dance is movement, and it must be understood through the simple shot. Ballets are often made in theatres or in environments where the lighting is not exactly high and often work is done in semi-darkness, so having a camera that can work at high ISO without producing too much noise is a big advantage.

Photographing movement is not a simple thing and in ballet things get even more complicated, especially if we don’t have a highly developed musical sensitivity. It is essential to understand how a ballet “works”, to perceive its rhythm and time: being able to photograph the moment in which a dancer takes a leap, for example, allows us to provide our photography with a sensation of movement that would be missing. if it was taken a moment before or shortly after landing.

A quite interesting, shooting technique consists in generating a sensation of movement in the observer, integrating multiple subjects in the same shot. If you photograph two dancers who, for example, have their bodies stretched towards each other, we will convey the idea of imminent contact in the mind of the observer who “imagines” the movement.

Many forms of dance are based on different poses that last for short moments. To catch an action in a particular instant, you need to set a very high shutter speed: we will find ourselves in one of the rare photographic cases in which it is certainly much more productive to underexpose for the benefit of the image.

In order to photograph particular poses, especially when in the air, we try to make the rhythm of the music, our own and memorize the movements of the dancers, which in almost all the choreographies are repeated several times. We may miss the first jump, but if we have a good ear, we will be able to catch the next one at the right time

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