I’m not a dancer. I know how to boxstep, I know a few swing and salsa moves, and I can do some popping and locking (behind my closed bedroom door only, sorry folks). You could say that I can dance, but I am no dancer. I know this because I have watched them – people who hold themselves with strength, and perform even the smallest movement with intent and grace. A woman who switched careers, now working as a nurse, who hasn’t danced in years; a boy who attends ballet twice weekly and, on the car trip to the studio, studies for his Grade 8 exams. Both hold themselves in a way that makes even the simple task of standing still somehow beautiful. This trait of being a dancer, can be learned with practice or come innately to someone who has never set a toe on stage. I’m not sure if Caitlynn had to learn to become this way – I feel like it was probably always there – but her training has allowed her to blossom into an incredibly strong and motivated dancer.
Caitlynn Dances with the Arts Umbrella Dance Company. We met at their Granville Island studios on a hot, sunny day to take some photos for Caitlynn to use as promotional shots for the new company she was working with in Chicago. The studios in this building are amazing. We started shooting in the upstairs room, with a stained glass sculpture installed in front of the half moon windows. A single skylight became my focus for these shots, the natural spotlight serving to highlight Caitlynn’s movements. This technique was increased tenfold upon entering the lower studio, where the dark room and many streams of light from overhead windows gradually let me completely isolate Caitlynn.
The more dance photography I do, the more excited I become to shoot it. Every scenario is completely different, and allows for much more movement and improvisation on my part as I follow and circle the dancer. With only the slightest direction and repositioning, I get to explore and capture all sorts of unusual poses and shapes that I wouldn’t have thought of in a posed shoot. Thank you so much to Caitlynn for trusting me in this process, and choosing me to document this stage of her career.