PD Dance Festival First Look | Denver Dance Photography

The Presenting Denver Dance Festival, presented with the Robert and Judi Newman Center was a huge success! I’ve been part of an amazing team of volunteers helping to make this festival a reality for the past two years or so. Even with all the work we had done leading up to the festival, I did not expect to sell out every show in our inaugural year! But that’s just what we did. Each show was packed with people and we got wonderful feedback. 

The two day festival consisted of two different shows, the “New and Now” showcase and the “No Walls” concert, with 15 local dance companies and eight brand new world premieres. All the performers were absolutely incredible! There was such a great mix of styles and emotions and the flow of the shows was perfect. Any performance that can make you laugh and cry and stare in awe, all in the same show is pretty amazing in my book! I was so impressed by how it all came together.

I’ll be sharing most of the images from the festival in the months leading up to the 2020 Presenting Denver Dance Festival (mark your calendars!), so you’ll have to be patient if you want to see them. I am just too excited to share these photos though, so you get a special sneak peek in the meantime. Keep scrolling for a few photos from the New & Now showcase as the first look at our first festival ever! 

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Credits (in photo order):
Schiff Dance Company
Edgar L. Page
Kristen Demaree
Chadesh Contemporary Dance Movement
Hannah Kahn Dance Company
Helanius J. Wilkins
Gregory Gonzales
Moripovida Contemporary Dance

Want engaging production photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

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The Trashydy of Medea | Colorado Performing Arts Photography

This was probably my favorite piece from last year’s MFA Thesis show at Naropa University. At the end of each academic year, those graduating from the school’s theater program perform works that they created for their thesis, in order to fulfill their graduation requirements. Chie Saito’s one woman show, The Trashdy of Medea, was only about 15 minutes long and was the “pre-show” to Those Who Attend Your Funeral and The Sister’s DeCantate.

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Despite it’s short run time, it was very impactful. The show starts with three men carrying a heavy trash can onto the stage. Once they leave, the can starts to move. Eventually, Chie emerges and pops up, using the can almost as a dress. For the rest of the show, she interacts with the trash can, using it as a megaphone, kicking it away, kissing it, crawling inside to hide from the world.

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When I posted a photo from the show on Facebook, someone asked if the show was about the wastefulness of fast fashion trends. It is so interesting to hear what people think a piece of art means. Art is always up for interpretation and I feel that most of the time, that interpretation can change from viewer to viewer. Everyone brings their own ideas and perspectives to the table when viewing art and that is what makes art so meaningful and magical. So I want to hear what you think. From seeing the archival photos of the piece, what do you think is the meaning behind The Trashedy of Medea?

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Starring: Chie Saito and Malachi Tharp, Jake Cacciatore, & Lorenzo Gonzalez as ‘hazmat suits.’

Composed by: Lorenzo Gonzalez & Chie Saito from texts by Euripides & Christa Wolf

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Want engaging production photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

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Young Artist Welcome | Colorado Performing Arts Photography

As I wrap up editing on the Opera Colorado’s final concert for the season, the Spring Tea, I thought I should introduce you to these wonderful Young Artists by sharing their first concert of the season. Haha! I know, I know, I am very behind on my blogging. This is by design though since I plan the entire year of blogs each December. This means that my Colorado performing arts photography and all my other work gets shared six months to a year after I actually photograph it. I like this method because I can plan ahead and not have to stress about what to blog all year long. I also get to revisit sessions from last year! It’s always fun to look back and reminisce!

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Colorado Performing Arts Photography

Each year, Opera Colorado starts off their season with a concert to welcome the new cast of Young Artists. The Young Artist Welcome was held at the Studio Loft this season. I love this event because I get to photograph the Young Artists throughout the season and get to know them a little bit. It’s amazing to watch them grow and change from their first concert to their last. This Welcome concert is a great glimpse into who each of them are and it’s a great way to start the season.

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Every year, this little girl (in the photo above) comes to the Welcome concert and it’s so cute to see her enjoying the music and talking with the artists after the show. Her grandmother told me that she loves listening to opera in the car. I love that because of this concert, she gets to see opera performed live as well!

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Want engaging production photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

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Ancient Creatures | Boulder Performing Arts Photography

In the Boulder performing arts photography world, you run into a lot of tricky lighting situations. This show, part of Naropa University’s MFA Thesis Festival, had all of them in one. At points during the show, the only light source was a candle or flashlights or a strobe light. There was even a scene lit only by Christmas lights hung inside an umbrella. I loved all of the creative uses of light. The creators of the show did an excellent job using light to convey strong emotions. Plus, I’m always up for a fun lighting challenge!

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This show was centered around the ideas behind the zodiac. The main question posed by the performance is “Where are we going, and what will we be when we get there?” It explored the ways in which people can change through life experiences and the role that greater forces may factor into their lives. It was a stunning, moving, and surprisingly fun play!

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Director’s Note: “When I started working with the source material of the zodiac, I was more than a skeptic. The frame was perfect, but the source material lacked a certain scientific approach with which I felt comfortable. After my work with texts of Greek mythology, star charts, dice, anatomy, and my fellow creators, I am proud to say that we have built something out of this uncertainty, belief, and curiosity. This piece is the product of work, hope, and chance. The text and movement were created using chance systems, much like the creation of the universe.”

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Cast and Crew

Directed by: Michael Sater

Devised, written, and performed by: Michael Sater Rebecca Buckley Ashley Rice

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Want engaging production photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

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Season Preview Concert | Denver Performing Arts Events

Capturing Denver performing arts events is such a fun way to gain insight into what’s happening around Denver. I love these opportunities to participate and contribute to the local art scene. Most of all, I love sharing the photos from events like these. Some Denver arts events are only open to a small group of people and even with events that are available to all, no one can make it to everything awesome that’s happening around town. Having photos of these events give people who couldn’t make it a chance to see it anyway. And I love that!

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Opera Colorado’s season preview concert was really cool because it gave attendees a sneak peek at the events for the rest of the year. This event gave season ticket holders a glimpse at the upcoming season so they could decide what shows they wanted to see. I think it really helped everyone get excited about what was in store!

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At the event, Greg Carpenter, the Artistic Director, announced the new season and gave some background about each show. But just having someone speak would be boring, right? I mean all that information was online anyway. Not only did he talk about the shows, the singers, and show the sets, and the costume designs, but there was singing! What Denver performing arts event would be complete without some performing arts? The Opera Colorado Young Artists gave viewers a preview of each show by performing a few songs from the shows they would be in throughout the year. It was a great evening and got everyone revved up for the upcoming season.

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By the way, Opera Colorado announced their 2018-2019 season recently. Check it out!

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Greg Carpenter addresses the audience at opera event in Denver

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Want engaging production photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

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Sip and Sing | Denver Performing Arts Photography

Denver performing arts photography is never boring. There are so many fun and unique events going on in this city, on any given night. Like an opera concert in a jazz club with food and wine! These events have become a staple of Opera Colorado’s season. They have events like these all throughout the year, not just their mainstage opera productions. And some of the events are actually free! Sip and Sing is a really fun event series that combines opera arias, wine, and food, in an amazing urban setting.

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This event took place at Nocturne, in the RiNo Arts District. Nocturne is a jazz club in an industrial building with a stage area and an upper-level atrium that overlooks it. They serve amazing food and drinks in the evening. There’s even a grand piano, which is always fun to photograph. It is such an eclectic and beautiful space!

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Similar to the last wine and opera event at the Balistreri Vineyards, there were three curated sets: each set included three arias sung by Opera Colorado’s Young Artists and was paired with a different wine, hand picked to complement the music by an in-house sommelier. This time, there were food pairings as well. Guests were treated to a three course meal during the concert, one course for each set of arias and each glass of wine. After the concert, was a little after party on the top level, with dessert and mingling, while a jazz band played for dinners below.

Opera Colorado is doing more of these Sip and Sing events throughout the year. They had one at the Preservery and another back at Nocturne, just last month. You won’t want to miss the next one!

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Want engaging production photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

Lucia di Lammamoore | Denver Performing Arts Photography

Each year, I photograph the Student Matinee at Opera Colorado. This show is performed by the Opera Colorado Young Artists for an audience of students from elementary and high schools around Colorado. It’s an amazing opportunity for students to see professional opera production on the main stage. In past years, students got the chance to see Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Lori Laitman’s The Scarlet Letter. Denver performing arts photography can present a few challenges so I wanted to go into my approach to photographing this show.

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The unusual thing about this performance is that there is no time for a dress rehearsal. The Young Artists only perform this show one time, on stage, and that is in front of a full audience. This is a huge challenge for them but you would never guess it. They always perform amazingly for the students! It’s also a challenge for me! Photographing with a live audience isn’t always preferred because it can be difficult to get the photos I need, without being disruptive. There are a few steps I take to make sure I stay quiet and out of the way, while still making the best images possible.

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I always dress in black, head to toe. If you know me, you know this is very out of character! I love wearing colorful clothes, but for these performances, I need to blend into the darkness. I also know this theater well, so I know where I can be that is out of the way and what paths to take. I set up a little home base, that is very out of the way of the audience. It’s also right in the center of the theater, so it’s perfect for getting wide-angle photos to show the whole scene and the set.

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Seeing a show before photographing it, is really helpful because I can plan where to be when and what angle and lens I want to use at each point in the show. I’m always able to see this opera (performed by the mainstage artists) before photographing the Student Matinee, which is great. I do move around the theater a lot when I photograph performances, but I’m able to gauge the best times to move without being disruptive. I also make sure I crouch down as much as possible, in the aisles so I’m not blocking anyone’s view. I’m always aware of the music and I try to click during the loudest points and keep it to a minimum during the quiet moments.

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It’s usually ideal to photograph a performance during a dress rehearsal, but that isn’t always an option. A lot of times companies don’t have access to the theater before the show opens. Sometimes, the show isn’t quite polished off until the audience is in their seats. Photographing with an audience can be the best option, in some cases. Using these methods, I haven’t heard any audience complaints, and I’m still able to get a wide variety of images for my clients!

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Lucia di Lammermoor Cast and Crew

Opera by Gaetano Donizetti
Libretto by Salvadore Cammarano
Conductor: Andres Caldera
Stage Director: Jordan Braun
Lighting Designer: Lucas Krech
Wig and Makeup Design: Ronell Oliveri
Accompanist: Parisa Zaeri
Young Artist Director: Cherity Koepke

Lucia: Allison Nicholas
Edgardo: Omar Najmi
Alisa: Danielle Lombardi
Narrator/Normanno: Ryan Bradford
Enrico: Charles Eaton
Arturo: Brett Sprague
Raimondo: Matthew Trevino

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Want engaging production photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.