Last week was a really exciting one for us both creatively and culturally. The past month we have been working feverishly on a series of cinemagraphs we made with the School of American Ballet we shot back in February. It’s always been a dream of mine to shoot ballerinas as I so admire their lines, pose, discipline and beauty of dance. As you saw, the cinemagraphs were displayed in the David H. Koch theater of Lincoln Center’s Metropolitan Opera House. These cinemagraph portraits showed the art of ballet caught at it’s best eternally. The perfect pose, spin, point, there to study and be inspired by its beauty. In addition to the cinemagraphs, on this day we also shot the staged dance sequences for the video.
Just to give you some behind the scenes at SAB’s shoot, we kept the setup pretty simple. The inspiration was based on Eadweard Muybridge’s studies in motion from the history of photography. We wanted to study the ballerina, the form, the movement and motion. We decided to put them on two 12×12 Solid black backdrops and asked the dancers to wear all white. With two large Arri M18 HMI lights we pointed up bouncing the light off the white ceiling illuminating the dancers from above going for an effect of a large skylight for a classic and natural feeling. After tapping down a black rubber floor, the stage was set.
We shot six of SAB’s students in one of their dance studios at Lincoln Center. One of the great things about SAB is how they use live piano players, which we had for our shoot, and hire the most passionate teachers. On this day we worked closely with Suki Schorer who directed the dancers throughout the shoot and tweaked their hands or feet positions with every shot.
It was such a joy to create around a thing of incredible beauty like in ballet. After every dance sequence I would applaud and smile from sheer joy… until Suki told me to stop clapping because that tells the piano player to stop playing and nobody wants that.
Here is a peek behind the scenes shot by our assistant Diana Ola~
For the School of American Ballet’s winter ball, Kevin and I followed three of the students into their experience, thoughts and dreams as they bring to life the dedication and hard work that makes the movement of ballerinas look so elegant and effortless….
A starry night, a winter ball, a celebration of The School of American Ballet‘s 80 years of dedication to the field of ballet...under the golden roof of Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater, former ballet dancers, patrons, alumni, board members, corporate and social communities gathered to raise money to provide student scholarships as well as to maintain the school’s state of the art facilities and faculty. The School of American Ballet was established in 1934 by legendary choreographer George Balanchine and philanthropist Lincoln Kirstein with a dream of creating the American classical ballet company, which is today the premier ballet academy in the United States, training the highest of elite dancers at the New York City Ballet and other leading U.S. and international ballet companies.
In a room full of gowns, we sipped on cocktails, dined on classic American fare with tables aglow with starbursts and watched a beautiful performance by the advanced students of the school, choreographed by Silas Farley. It was a dazzling night, but when is it not when it’s made of ballet dreams and Lincoln Center sparkle?…
When I was growing up in Texas I would fantasize what it would be like living in New York. How I would hail taxis in a rush to meet friends, walk down tree-lined streets under the anonymous gaze of passerby, and have nights of crisp cocktails and dancing to the jazz music filling the room, with the streaming lights of the city engulfing me in all the dreams I could dare to dream. When we met the face of Vera Wang’s new perfume Be Jeweled, Laura Love, I knew instantly from our conversation we should shoot a day in her life. She talked about her passion for ballet, her new role in New York as a model and what it is like being young and beautiful in this vast city of endless possibilities.