Sunday, September 16, 2012

Five Tangos

On Saturday morning, along with a another batch of bloggers,  I got to go along to a rehearsal of the programme for Scottish Ballet's new Autumn Season.  The ballet they were working on on Saturday was 'Five Tangos', but the programme also includes 'Run For It' which was developed for the Cultural Olympiad and 'Workwithinwork'.

The company consists of 35 dancers, and even though this particular ballet only involves 14 dancers, there are several different 'casts' all learning the part so that performances can be spread across the company during the course of the season.  

This meant that although everyone isn't dancing all the time during the rehearsal there are other groups kind of marking the moves in the background.

Claire Robertson who was dancing the main female role and whom we got to chat to after the rehearsal

along with Owen Thorne, above.  They gave us an insight into the dangers of over-decorated tutus (the men's arms get shredded by the sharp diamante when doing lifts) and the tendency to break into dance at odd moments.

Being launched through the air

Another dancer watches while sewing ribbons on to her shoes


Tango Four (I think)

I'd never photographed dancing before and was quite keen to have a shot.  In some ways it was similar to photographing gigs, in that there was music and movement.  The main difference was the speed of the movement and the amount of distance travelled; even the liveliest band don't tend to move around the stage to the extent the dances do, or at anything like the speeds.  

To give you an idea of it I usually aim for a shutter speed of around 125th of a second when shooting bands.  At the Rezillos gig last year I pushed that up to 250th of a second as they were jumping around a lot, but here even 640th of a second wasn't always enough to freeze the dancers.   

It also wasn't enough to freeze just any moment as this could result in the sort of effect you get when photographing people while they're talking with people caught in strange expressions or, in this case,  strange postures.   It began to seem that in some  ways the dangers were like pendulums moving between instants of stillness and the trick to getting a good shot was to catch these instants.   

Anyway, I had a great time and will certainly be trying to see the programme when it's in theatres next month.   (There are a few more shots from the morning over on Flickr.)


MARIE said...

Very interresting work, I like a lot first picture and also the one with a sitting woman, and others too !...

Alcluith said...

Thanks, Marie!