A Fine Sunday Afternoon With The Arts Umbrella Dance CompanySunday, January 19, 2014
Today I went to the first ever Arts Umbrella Dance Company Sunday Performances Series 204 for the second time. The reason being is that I went last week and the place, Glen Gilmour Studio on 7th and Ontario was locked. In my eagerness I had my dates wrong.
There was a very long line to get in. I paid my suggested $10 ticket (a real steal) and even though I knew that most seats would be taken in the limited space I had my secret spot waiting for me. The secret spot is a hard column by a hard floor. I sat and I knew that the big gun would surely come. The seat behind me had a reserved notice. She (Emily Molnar) sat down. I was a mere inches away from the dance goddess. She looked at my camera (a Fuji X-E1) and asked me, “Alex are you going to take pictures?” While I am not shy I sort of lied and told her the truth, “I am no expert on dance photography. In fact I know nothing about it.” The truth is that years ago I realized I could never compete with David Cooper so I reduced myself to photograph dancers as people firmly planted to the floor or sitting on a chair in front of my camera.
The truth is that I used to take still photographs of the jazz dancers who performed in the CBC variety shows of the late 70s and early 80s. I had been hired to take pictures of all the shows. Among the dancers were Jeff Hyslop Viktoria Langton , Jackie Coleman and Valerie Easton. The latter is the choreographer for most of the theatrical productions of the Arts Club Theatre Company. The choreographer of the CBC jazz dancers was James Hibbard who gave me the best advice I ever received from anybody on how to photograph dancers. He told me, “Get as low as you can and if you can dig a hole to be even lower, do so.”
From my vantage point on the floor of the Glenn Gilmour Studio I was pretty low.
Now this digital contraption that I now own is capable of many things if one is aware of what these things are. The fact is that the Arts Umbrella Apprentice Dance Company are far better at what they do than this digital apprentice can hope to be. But I tried and herewith are some of my attempts.
I hope that the dancers photographed might just have some fun recognizing themselves in most of my blurs which I purposely shot using 1/15 and lower exposures.
It is a pleasure and a delight to be able to see such quality dancing in intimate surroundings without being told that cameras and video are prohibited. At this rate, and considering that the next session in the Sunday Performances Series is at Performance Works on February 9, if things go well, I might just learn to photograph dance, after all.
I cannot leave this blog without mentioning that those who in the end did not show up for this performance they lost seeing the most incredible dancer from Ballet BC, Rachel Meyer choreographed by her fellow Ballet BC dancer Dario Dinuzzi. Rachel Meyer has the kind of dancer’s body, all muscle and sinew that if you pushed her into a swimming pool, my guess is that she would sink unless she swam. I managed to take a few photographs and if you look closely you will know which ones they are.
My thanks, as usual to that dynamo of dance and inspiration, Artemis Gordon, Artistic Director of the Arts Umbrella Dance Company. I could not forget thanking Emily Molnar for her generosity in lending to the Arts Umbrella Dance Company her three dancers, Livona Ellis, Rachel Meyer and Dario Dinuzzi who choreographed two pieces for Arts Umbrella Dancers. Of Livona Ellis, we can mention here that is was not too long ago (a year or two?) that she was a member of the venerable Granville Island company of dancers.
And also before I forget, I understand that former Arts Umbrella dance virtuoso, Caroline Kilpatrick who now works in the administration of the company is engaged. Congratulations!