The book of Ecclesiastes says there is “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”
Early on Saturday morning was one of those times to dance. The plan was to photograph a portrait of a ballerina along the Indianapolis Canal Walk with her reflections in the still water. I scheduled a time with Chelsea, a gifted dancer. We planned several different outfits, not knowing which might provide the best reflections. As we started in the early morning, the air was calm with clear reflections in the water. However, a light breeze soon created ripples in the water. As a result, the reflections were no longer mirrorlike, but the sparkling reflections in the water danced as if to mimic the dancer. As we worked to capture images, we found an area where the water was protected from the breeze, allowing for beautiful reflections. When the water is still and smooth, the magic happens.
Dancers are always fascinating subjects. Capturing their reflections creates a unique image by adding interest and depth to the photograph.
The immovable buildings made with limestone rock and bricks were an interesting contrast to the graceful fluidity of the ballerina. The buildings also provided a frame around the dancer which helps to direct one’s attention.
Dance is a performing art with a repertoire of movements. There are many categories of dance, whether ceremonial, social, competitive, erotic, martial or sacred, and liturgical. Dance can be for a performance to entertain an audience. It can also be solely for the satisfaction of the dancer. Ted Shan said dance “was the first art of the human race, and the matrix out of which all other arts grew”.
Joann Kealinohomoku described dance as “a transient mode of expression performed in a given form and style by the human body moving in space. Dance occurs through purposefully selected and controlled rhythmic movements; the resulting phenomenon is recognized as a dance both by the performer and the observing members for a given group.”
The outdoor setting along the Indianapolis Canal Walk made the dance more accessible to the world. Passersby stopped to admire the art of Chelsea’s graceful dance. Dance provides benefits to both the observer and the dancer. The expressive nature of dance helps to improve mood and reduces symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety. Dance is both a physical and emotional release.
The calm pleasant morning along the canal was also a pleasure. We soon had a number of lovely portraits with reflections in the still glassy water of the canal. As the morning progressed, the wind picked up, and the reflections were becoming more abstract. However, we achieved what we set out to do, so it was time to end the dance photo session.
Dance portraits, whether in the studio, on stage, or in an interesting outdoor setting, are one of IN Dancing Light Photography’s specialties. If you would like your own dance portraits, you can contact us for a consultation.