I was standing with a camera in my hand, holding a tutu on my hip, and trying to direct the 16 dancers with my (spare?) hands and arms, for a group photo, when one of the youngest says to me, "this is just like a dance class Miss Kate!"
I laughed and said, "it totally is, now why aren't you in the position I put you in?!"
It's funny how I've heard that comment in some form, about 12,000 times... if we are rounding down.
I had my first ballet lesson when I was 2, I started Gymnastics when I was 6, my first competitive dance was on stage when I was 14 and I started teaching at 16.. not long before I started studying photography.
My life has been totally immersed in dance, teaching and creating those technically correct and beautiful dance images we all love!
Yes, I genuinely LOVE the dance photos we take, haven't you been at a shoot with me and heard the excited sounds I make when we get a good shot?!
So it makes complete sense that when you are at a dance photoshoot with someone who used to dance (a lot!), is a dance teacher and is a Professional Dance Photographer, the session could feel like you are in class!
Keeping that in mind, I wanted to share with you some of the mistakes that we see dancers make when they jump in front of the camera!
(from a photographers point of view, but it will totally relate to the dance teachers out there!)
Not Warming Up
At the beginning of each dance photoshoot, we help the dancer pick the outfits they are going to wear, and we often pick the first outfit based on this - we want you to warm up and get used to the studio/location, but do it in front of the camera.
I can't stress this enough, when we say warm up, don't just stretch. Warm up your feet, your arms, your neck, do some jumps, crack your toes, if you put pointe shoes on; do some rises and tendus.
Yes do all of the stretching as well, but your body has to be completely warm, to get the best results
You know all that stuff your teachers say to you in class; "turn out," "stretch your knees," "pointe don't scrunch," "elongate your neck," "bend more," "one more time," etc etc etc... They are ACTUALLY right and you should be taking that all in, because those are the types of corrections we are going to give you, if you forget to do it all yourself!
I don't know how many times we have heard "oh that's what my teachers tell me in class!"
Listen. To. Your. Teachers!
Lack of Performance
So flashback to the last time you were performing on stage... You had your hair & makeup all done, you were wearing your pretty costume, dancing the choreography you had been working so hard on, performing through your face to really show the story to the audience..
Well, it's basically the same when you are in front of the camera. If you are wearing your lyrical costume, your hair & makeup is done and you trying to perfect a pose or position we have given you; we sti