A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

Two With Poise & Elegance
Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Katarina Nesic & Zander Constant


In December 1995 I photographed Evelyn Hart and dance was never the same for me. Before that I was ignorant of the art form. Since then my ignorance has dissipated a tad. I have also witnesses lots of dance.  While I may not be a dance critic or have proper training I have seen enough dancers to know which are the good ones.

My appreciation for dance had an early beginning in a way in something not quite related to dance. When I was in my late teens in Mexico City I enjoyed going to watch frontón (jai-alai) at the Frontón México. There were some players of this ultra fast game who the fans called fenómenos. In Spanish it sort of means someone who has a talent that is beyond what we know of talent. Could it be the devil himself who is involved?

The same word was shouted in the bullring of Plaza México. I was a fan of  bullfighting. Any Spaniard or Mexican interested in el “arte taurino” will tell you (in spite of the fact that North Americans consider it a sport, a terribly cruel sport) that the exceptional bullfighter dances with grace while faced with danger.

Bullfighters such as Malonete were called fenómenos.

What do bullfighters and jai-alai players have to do with dancers, be they ballet, modern or other types of dancing?

I believe that you can find easily good dancers who have precise skills. But this is not enough. You have to have something that I call presence. As an example Marlon Brando in a tight T-shirt was an actor with presence.

When I watch dancers in Vancouver I look for this skill/presence. I like to look for it among the young dancers of the Arts Umbrella Dance Company. Every couple of years I take note of one or two that makes my grade (even though it is my amateur grade!).

The two you see here, Zander Constant and Katarina Nesic are dancers I have watched grow up through the years as my granddaughter Lauren, 16, has been dancing at Arts Umbrella for 8 years.

Of Nesic I can only say that she dances exquisitely with a grace that stands out above her peers. Part of her presence is the fact that she is blonde but has what must be almost jet-black eyes. If she happens to look at you it is Superman using X-rays.

Zander normally wears glasses. If you notice him in a line-up outside the Vancouver Playhouse you might suspect he is an ungainly teenager at loss. But if you see him dance, as I have through the years, and without glasses he is a Clark Kent suddenly becoming a Superman to match his friend Nesic!

Nesic still has a year to go at Arts Umbrella. Constant has graduated from the program and the smart powers-that-be at Ballet BC have selected him to be in the company as an apprentice.

The two showed up at my house on Wednesday and we sat for a bit to eat. Talking to these two (she is 18, he is 19) is very much like talking to polite, informed, enthusiastic adults.

It was not too long ago that Arts Umbrella Artistic Director, Artemis Gordon told me that the dance program of her school (that in my opinion is a dance company) cleared (some) of the streets of would be delinquents! I believe her.

By the time dance students reach that age of about 16 they have a schedule of dance that is so long and busy that they must attend one of two schools that offer a special program that clears the afternoon for dance rehearsals. One is Magee Secondary and the other is King Edward Secondary. They begin early in the morning and skip physical education. A bus takes them to Granville Island or the other location on 7th Avenue at Quebec for the remainder of the day.

The result of this intense program is an individual with poise, grace, manners and a self-assuredness that is almost scary. And these individuals when they graduate go to dance in the best dance companies in Europe and beyond.

Constant and Nesic posed for me together. Then I asked Nesic (who does not need to wear any makeup) to apply makeup to Constant and particularly under the eyes.

It was so much fun to watch this and taking their photographs was easy. Why?

Because they are dancers. And they are fenómenos.



     

Previous Posts
Guillermina Santa Bárbara Cheers Me Up

Mona Lisa - Overdrive

Two Evangelists & That Important Severed Right Ear...

A suo piacere

An Odalisque in 3200

La Verdadera Cara de los Ángeles

Jessi McMath, Curtis Daily, Robert Studer & Willia...

That Béla Bartók Girl

A Kitsilano Sun

The Order of Generals



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6/12/16 - 6/19/16

6/19/16 - 6/26/16

6/26/16 - 7/3/16

7/3/16 - 7/10/16

7/10/16 - 7/17/16

7/17/16 - 7/24/16

7/24/16 - 7/31/16

7/31/16 - 8/7/16

8/7/16 - 8/14/16

8/14/16 - 8/21/16

8/21/16 - 8/28/16

8/28/16 - 9/4/16

9/4/16 - 9/11/16

9/11/16 - 9/18/16

9/18/16 - 9/25/16

9/25/16 - 10/2/16

10/2/16 - 10/9/16

10/9/16 - 10/16/16

10/16/16 - 10/23/16

10/23/16 - 10/30/16

10/30/16 - 11/6/16

11/6/16 - 11/13/16

11/13/16 - 11/20/16

11/20/16 - 11/27/16

11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16

12/11/16 - 12/18/16

12/18/16 - 12/25/16

12/25/16 - 1/1/17

1/1/17 - 1/8/17

1/8/17 - 1/15/17

1/15/17 - 1/22/17

1/22/17 - 1/29/17

1/29/17 - 2/5/17

2/5/17 - 2/12/17

2/12/17 - 2/19/17

2/19/17 - 2/26/17

2/26/17 - 3/5/17

3/5/17 - 3/12/17

3/12/17 - 3/19/17

3/19/17 - 3/26/17

3/26/17 - 4/2/17

4/2/17 - 4/9/17

4/9/17 - 4/16/17

4/16/17 - 4/23/17

4/23/17 - 4/30/17

4/30/17 - 5/7/17

5/7/17 - 5/14/17

5/14/17 - 5/21/17

5/21/17 - 5/28/17

5/28/17 - 6/4/17

6/4/17 - 6/11/17

6/11/17 - 6/18/17

6/18/17 - 6/25/17

6/25/17 - 7/2/17

7/2/17 - 7/9/17

7/9/17 - 7/16/17

7/16/17 - 7/23/17

7/23/17 - 7/30/17

7/30/17 - 8/6/17

8/6/17 - 8/13/17

8/13/17 - 8/20/17

8/20/17 - 8/27/17

8/27/17 - 9/3/17

9/3/17 - 9/10/17

9/10/17 - 9/17/17

9/17/17 - 9/24/17

9/24/17 - 10/1/17

10/1/17 - 10/8/17

10/8/17 - 10/15/17

10/15/17 - 10/22/17

10/22/17 - 10/29/17

10/29/17 - 11/5/17

11/5/17 - 11/12/17

11/12/17 - 11/19/17