Amber on the High Line | New York Dance Photographer

The last time I was in New York City, I reconnected with a few friends from Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. I did dance sessions with three of them while I was in town and Amber was the last dance session I did before heading home. It was a little chilly, so we met in the Chelsea Market to look over outfits and plan everything out. Then, we went up to the High Line to start shooting!

The High Line is such an awesome urban trail. It’s an industrial/nature walk built on the old elevated train tracks and runs through Chelsea in Manhattan. The last time, I was there, they had only finished the first couple sections of it. The last part goes up to the water and overlooks a rail yard. It was really cool to see the whole thing completed.

Amber did an amazing job at this session. Of course, I knew she would because this isn’t the first time I’ve photographed her. She was my student spotlight during the Contemporary Program at Jacob’s Pillow. Check out that session here! These sessions were two and a half years apart so it was amazing to see her again and see how she’s grown as an artist.

In that time, she has graduated from Julliard and founded a dance non-profit, Art Belongs to People. She also just finished her role in the Cirque du Soleil show “Paramour” on Broadway. I got all sorts of gossip about life as a Broadway dancer. And she was learning some aerials skills from the other dancers while she was there. What an awesome woman!

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Want engaging dance portraits for you or your company? Find out more about Creative Sessions and email me at jamie@jamiekraus.com. I would love to help tell your story through dance and photography.

 

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Hamilton Musical Workshop | Colorado Dance Photography

Have you heard!? Hamilton is coming to Denver! I’ve been listening to the soundtrack on repeat and I think I have most of the songs memorized by now. I’ve also seen some killer dance photography from the Broadway production. I am so pumped!

This show is familiar to me though. Two years ago, at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Broadway choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler workshopped Hamilton‘s “Yorktown” with the Jazz and Musical Theater participants. They performed it that summer at Inside/Out and A Jazz Happening.

I remember my first reaction to hearing that there would be a hip hop Broadway musical about American history. I thought it was such a cool idea but I had no idea how popular this new hit would be. It was so interesting to see this piece come together. As the dance photography intern that summer, I was able to photograph each step throughout the workshop.

It was even cooler to see it performed in it’s final form at the Tony Awards. I recognized so many of the same elements and moves from two years before. It wasn’t until then that I realized what these students had been apart of. Something historical. Something revolutionary.

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Want engaging dance portraits for you or your company? Find out more about Creative Sessions and email me at jamie@jamiekraus.com. I would love to help tell your story through dance and photography.

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Parallels in Dance | Colorado Dance Photographer

Hapless Bizarre

Aaron Mattocks, Mark Gindick, and Donnell Oakley in doug elkins choreography, etc’s Hapless Bizarre.

I love drawing parallels between seemingly unrelated things that happen to overlap in my life. When I was in school, I would always find links between the classes I was taking each semester, even when they were in totally different departments. As a Colorado Dance Photographer, I love finding the connections between different performances, dancers, and companies.

A year and a half ago, I was the Photography Intern at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. When Companhia Urbana de Dança and doug elkins choreography, etc. came to perform that summer, I saw so many similarities between their shows. I remember frantically writing them all on my phone the second the show ended, catching them before they left my mind.

These two companies could not be more distant. They speak different languages, have different backgrounds, and come from different hemispheres. Urbana’s dancers come from the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, bringing with them a background of street-style, urban dance. The stories they tell through dance come from their lived experiences, from riots to discotecas. doug elkins’s collaborations with costume designers, theater directors, and even a clown, give their pieces a theatrical feel to them. They take inspiration from musicals, classic Shakespeare, and slapstick.

Here are some of the parallels I noticed between the two shows:

  1. They each used Amy Winehouse’s music (and I love Amy Winehouse’s music).
Mo(or)town Redux

Kyle Marshall in doug elkins choreography, etc’s Mo(or)town Redux.

2. All the dancers wore knee pads because they were doing a lot of floor work.

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Tiago Sousa in Companhia Urbana de Dança’s I. You. We… All Black!

3. The whole company danced as a group to create one larger entity. This is one of my favorite things to see in a dance performance.

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Companhia Urbana de Dança’s I. You. We… All Black!

4. Both shows used laughter as well as fear. Each piece was very emotional on both ends of the spectrum.

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Mark Gindick in doug elkins choreography, etc’s Hapless Bizarre.

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André Feijao in Companhia Urbana de Dança’s I. You. We… All Black!

5. They both used props in a comical way.

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Deborah Lohse in doug elkins choreography, etc’s Hapless Bizarre

6. While neither of them are hip hop companies, there are definitely hip hop influences in both of their shows.

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Alexander Dones in doug elkins choreography, etc’s Mo(or)town Redux.

7. Each company performed two pieces and there was a stark contrast between them. One piece was heavy and dark while the other piece was light, fun, and comical. Urbana started their show with the heavier piece while doug elkins’s show started with a lighter piece.

Mo(or)town Redux

Kyle Marshall and Donnell Oakley in doug elkins choreography, etc’s Mo(or)town Redux.

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Companhia Urbana de Dança’s Na Pista

8. With both shows, their use of storytelling was quite impressive and moving.

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Raphael Russier and Jessica Nascimento in Companhia Urbana de Dança’s Na Pista

Hapless Bizarre

Deborah Lohse and Mark Gindick in doug elkins choreography, etc’s Hapless Bizarre

These parallels were between two dance shows but I encourage you to draw your own parallels between the next show you see and other things going on in your life and the world.

Companhia Urbana de Dança performed I. You. We… All Black! and Na Pista while doug elkins choreography, etc. performed Hapless Bizarre and Mo(or)town Redux.

P.S. I actually got to see Urbana perform again at The Newman Center in Denver last summer!

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Companhia Urbana de Dança’s I. You. We… All Black!

Want engaging dance portraits for you or your company? Email me at jamie@jamiekraus.com. I would love to help tell your story through dance and photography.

Amber Pickens | Colorado Dance Photographer

Amber and I met at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival last summer, while I was the photography intern and she was a participant in the Contemporary Dance Program. She was also the recipient of the Lorna Strassler award, a Jacob’s Pillow student scholarship, and is currently a senior in the The Julliard School’s B.F.A. Program. It’s clear to me that she is going to go far in this world!

Amber Pickens at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival

What struck me most while I was photographing Amber was her strength. Not her physical strength, but her strength as a woman and as a person. Each one of her movements was so powerful and emotional. Each pose told a little piece of her story. And that is what I think makes a great dancer.

Amber Pickens at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival

When I photograph dancers during creative sessions like these, I rely on their creativity to bring the images to life. I try not to dictate the poses they do and instead help them find inspiration from their surroundings or give them vague ideas to go off of. In this way the images become a portrait of themselves as a dancer and a person. They show their imagination and personality through their own medium of expression and I capture it through mine.

Amber Pickens at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival

Want engaging dance portraits for you or your company? Find out more about Creative Sessions and email me at jamie@jamiekraus.com. I would love to help tell your story through dance and photography. 

Amber Pickens at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival

 

Ballet at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival

Hong Kong Ballet opened the season at Jacob’s Pillow with three outstanding pieces. Each dance was inventive, moving and powerful.

Frank van Tongeren and Miao-miao Liu of The Hong Kong Ballet in Krzysztof Pastor's "In Light and Shadow"

Frank van Tongeren and Miao-miao Liu of The Hong Kong Ballet in Krzysztof Pastor’s “In Light and Shadow”

It’s a rare treat to see Pacific Northwest Ballet perform in New England and it was a joy to be able to photograph them. Their synchronization and expertise was simply stunning.

Elizabeth Murphy and Joshua Grant of Pacific Northwest Ballet in David Dawson's 'A Million Kisses to my Skin'

Elizabeth Murphy and Joshua Grant of Pacific Northwest Ballet in David Dawson’s “A Million Kisses to my Skin”

I love the image below of Daniel Ulbricht in BALLET 2014 because even though his performance of Larry Keigwin’s “Sunshine” was beyond any athletic capabilities I know, there were still calm moments like these where he connected with the audience.

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Daniel Ulbricht of BALLET 2014 in Larry Keigwin’s “Sunshine”

Dance Theatre of Harlem has so much history and it was remarkable to see their return to the Pillow post hiatus. Plus, have you seen Da’Von Doane’s thighs? I think the image below pretty much speaks for itself.

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Da’Von Doane of Dance Theatre of Harlem in Ulysses Dove’s “Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven”

I was blown way by Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s innovative and vibrant dancing. It was a beautiful way to end a stunning season at Jacob’s Pillow. I’ve since moved to Colorado and I’m proud to now call ASFB a local dance company.

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet

Joseph Watson, Seia Rassenti, and Craig Black of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet in “Beautiful Mistake” by Cayetano Soto

The 2014 season at Jacob’s Pillow was full of exceptional ballet and I cannot wait to capture more. If you or anyone you know need engaging dance photographs for press or promotional use, email me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

Inside/Out

When I tell people that I get to photograph dance every day, I really mean it. Four days each week, I get to photograph a new company on Inside/Out, an outdoor performance space here at Jacob’s Pillow. It is so wonderful and relaxing to photograph incredible dance on the perfect Berkshire backdrop.

Rukmini Vijayakumar, Raadha-Kalpa Dance Company

Rukmini Vijayakumar, Raadha-Kalpa Dance Company

Buglisi Dance Theatre

Buglisi Dance Theatre

Every Saturday, students from The School perform pieces they have been working on earlier in the week. Sometimes the entire piece is created start to finish in just four days and it’s always amazing.

The School at Jacob's Pillow - Ballet Program

The School at Jacob’s Pillow – Ballet Program

Title Image: OUI Danse

Dorrance Dance | Dance Photography

In July, Dorrance Dance came to Jacob’s Pillow for a two week run of their world premiere ETM: The Initial Approach. In addition to their two weeks of performances, they also taught two Master Classes on body percussion and singing with improvisation.

Tap dance is one of the most difficult dance forms to photograph but it is also one of the most fun. I got to photograph this show twice, which was such a treat. I first shot the show during dress rehearsal, where I was able to move all over and get plenty of different angles. Then I got the photograph it from the light booth. This gave me more of a birds eye view perspective for some great wide shots.

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Michelle Dorrrance, Demi Remick, Caleb Teicher, and Warren Craft in ETM: The Initial Approach

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Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie in ETM: The Initial Approach

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Michelle Dorrance in ETM: The Initial Approach

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Karida Griffith in ETM: The Initial Approach

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Warren Craft in ETM: The Initial Approach

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Demi Remick in ETM: The Initial Approach

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Caleb Teicher in ETM: The Initial Approach

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Caleb Teicher, Greg Richardson, Demi Remick in ETM: The Initial Approach

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Michelle Dorrance in Aaron Marcellus’ vocal improvisation Master Class

Want engaging dance portraits for you or your company? Find out more about Creative Sessions and email me at jamie@jamiekraus.com. I would love to help tell your story through dance and photography.