The time I got to spend photographing American Ballet Theatre ballerina April Rae Giangeruso was an afternoon I’ll never forget! Gracious, intuitive, and abundantly talented, are just a few adjectives to describe one of the newest members of ABT.
Posts Tagged ‘Dance’
Tags: 2010, ABT, American Ballet Theatre, April Rae Giangeruso, August 25, Ballerina, Black and White Photography, Dance, Photo Shoot, Sly Horse Studio, Tony Powell, www.tonypowell.smugmug.com
Tags: 2010, Candra Preshong, Dance, Delphina Parenti, Impact Dance Company, Kellie Payne, March 20, Photo Shoot, Sly Horse Studio
My first experience – last Saturday – shooting at Sly Horse Studio in Rockville was a great success! I’m giving my first “Capturing Motion” Master Class there April 4th from 1-4pm with top DC dancer Delphina Parenti as the model for the live shooting portion of the workshop. My wife Kellie co-directs a dance company called IMPACT, with fellow dancer and choreographer Candra Preshong. Their need for new promo pix for an upcoming concert provided the perfect opportunity to try out new studio digs. What a relief not to have to lug around a trunk full of equipment for a change. Every piece of equipment I use on a regular basis (except my camera) was available, on-site, for the asking…strobes, soft boxes, reflectors of every stripe, grids, flags, V-cards, etc.
The most convenient aspect of the studio’s setup is the complex overhead rail system! The way in which the strobe lighting system (White Lightning) is affixed to it is ingenious. Each mono-light can be moved up/down/sideways/diagonally to achieve nearly any angle required. Each of the 4 strobes has been wired to lead directly into one commander which allows for light adjustment in one centrally located place. No longer do I have to run back and forth to each lamp adjusting intensities of light. This ability to quickly adjust light levels and light positioning increased my workflow and gave me the freedom to experiment with a wide range of lighting setups.
Tags: 2009, Awards Ceremony, Beverly Blossom, Dance, Jacqueline Green, Martha Hill, Martha Hill Dance Award Gala, Mary Anthony, Mary Hinkson, Murray Louis, November 30, The Cathedral NYC, The Juilliard School, Tony Powell, Virginia Johnson
To say that a quarter of The Cathedral NYC‘s ballroom last night was occupied by living legends of the dance world is not an over statement. Each year around 200 dancers, choreographers, and educators gather to celebrate the life of pioneer in-the-field, Martha Hill. I have the great honor of being the official photographer of the Martha Hill Dance Award Gala and look forward to it each year with great anticipation.
Martha Hill is credited with singlehandedly uniting the chiefs of modern dance, during it’s infancy, and also for laying the groundwork that enabled the discipline to be studied, as a major, in colleges all across the country.
I was very fortunate to have been one of the last students hand-picked by Martha to attend The Juilliard School - where she presided over the dance program for over 30 years. Well into her eighties at the time, Martha Hill was an inspiration like none other, full of energy and insight, wisdom, and compassion.
Ten years ago an award was created to celebrate her life which recognizes 3 individuals each year in 3 different categories of the life arc of a dancer: The Young Professional, The Mid-Career, and The Lifetime Achievement Awards. This year’s event was presided over by choreographer and dancer Murray Louis with awards going to Jacqueline Green, Virginia Johnson, and Beverly Blossom respectively.
Tags: 2009, ARKA Ballet, Brooke Kidd, Dance, DC Cowboys, Furia Flamenca, Helen Hayes, Highland Fling, Joy of Motion Youth Dance Ensemble, Judy Hansen, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Martha Graham, Maryland Youth Ballet, Metro DC Dance Awards, Pola Nirenska Award, Richard Move, September 14, Septime Webre, Terrace Theater, Therrell Smith, Virginia Johnson
Click here to see and purchase the photos!
One of my favorite times of the year is when the entire DC dance community comes together to recognize and support each other’s efforts at the Metro DC Dance Awards. This year’s ceremony, held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Arts’ Terrace Theater, was one of the most entertaining yet. We were all treated to a rare visit by “Martha Graham,” actually the NY-based female impersonator Richard Move, who, as the evening’s emcee, was able to channel Graham in a way that was both realistic and endearing.
Move’s devotion to Graham is apparent and his life’s work of imitation and total immersion has become an art form in and of itself. There were dance performances galore – scattered throughout the evening – beginning on the Millennium Stage at 6pm where the youth awards were given out, to the main event in the Terrace: Furia Flamenca, Joy of Motion Youth Dance Ensemble, ARKA Ballet, and Maryland Youth Ballet, were just a handful of the city’s brightest lights, from the local dance scene, to perform.
There was something for everyone – ballet, modern dance, flamenco, and even the dancing DC Cowboys!! I was overjoyed to see so many of my friends in one place and many of them winning awards: Septime Webre and the Washington Ballet for last season’s beautifully conceived, Celtic-inspired evening of ballet in the Eisenhower – Highland Fling (I went twice), Gesel Mason receiving the Pola Nirenska Award, my new friends Delphina Parenti and Jason Ignacio both receiving the award for Outstanding Individual Performance, Helen Hayes winning for Outstanding Achievement in Dance Education, and Brooke Kidd receiving the Kriegsman Award!
The climax of the evening’s honors was the acceptance speech given by the internationally-renowned, Washington-trained prima ballerina and magazine editor Virginia Johnson, for her lifetime achievement in dance. In accepting the Pola Nirenska Award, she stressed the importance of talking about dance to people who are not involved in the field, about engaging those that may otherwise not have access to the arts. A high point for me was having an opportunity to photograph Virginia with her first ballet teacher, 91 year-old Therrell Smith, who attended last night’s ceremony.
After the tightly produced show we all went over to the Watergate’s 600 Restaurant to mingle the night away! Over 700 photos will soon be available for purchase and download.
Click here to see and purchase photos!
Tags: Ashley Taylor, Becca Glover, Capital Fringe Festival, Carmel Morgan, Contradiction Dance, Coventry Burke, Dance, Hyphen, In the Flesh, jenny Saville, John Currin, Kelly Mayfield, Marybeth Coleman, Meera Woolfe, Modern Art, Nude, Once Upon a Prom, Paint Made Flesh, Phillips Collection, Smith Point, Tony Powell
Last night’s triple header started out with a visit to the Phillips Collection, probably the best chamber-sized museum in the country. I’d heard so much talk about the new artwork on view there now, that when I was invited by my friend Kelly Mayfield to see her new choreography being performed there, it seemed like a no-brainer. It was also an opportunity to try out my brand new Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM prime lens in very low light. As part of the Capital Fringe Festival, her fledgling company, Contradiction Dance, comprised of six diverse dancers, staged an hour-long dance piece inspired by the “Paint Made Flesh” exhibit currently running on the top floor of the museum. As I was photographing the performance, I felt a hand tap me on the shoulder. It was my friend and local dance impresario Meera Wolfe, who had just come down from the exhibit. From her whispered description, I knew I needed to see the paintings that inspired the dance that we were watching.
Like the excellent but smallish exhibit upstairs, her work explores a wide range of themes associated with flesh – physical attractiveness, disfigurement, aging, and sensuality, among others. Comprised of duets, solos, spoken words, and group interactions, “In the Flesh,” challenges us to examine our own conception of beauty and to ultimately question the origin of those beliefs. Mayfield and company continued this exchange of ideas in the post-performance Q & A with the audience.
It’s such a small World! Meera was taking in the evening with the internet-based dance critic Carmel Morgan and yoga instructor Amy Dara Stoltz. Carmel says she knows of me via one of my Juilliard classmates Elizabeth McPherson, an esteemed author and dance educator. The four of us take in the artwork together. The 40 paintings that comprise the show are wildly different from one another, yet they all contain the common thread of humanness. The savagery of war, the beauty of the human form, the fleeting nature of love, the inevitability of death, all play out through pigments on canvas, paper, and board. Hyphen, by Jenny Saville has to be seen in person to feel the full effect of the work’s wall-sized brilliance. Hyphen begs one to find beauty in the seemingly grotesque depiction of the artist and her sister. I wanted to touch the canvas – the paint being so thickly applied in some areas. The strongest works for me, by far, were the pieces by Francis Bacon, Eric Fischl, Willem deKooning, and Lucian Freud. California artist Richard Diebenkorn was represented by a minor work of figuration which served to solidify my belief that his “Ocean Park” series is one of the most important collections of abstract paintings of the 20th century. I went to Juilliard with Diebenkorn’s granddaughter Phyllis and she had a miniature painted by him, for her, on the wall of her apartment at the Hotel Narragansett @ 93rd and Broadway. None of our friends realized just how valuable a piece of art it was at the time. But I knew.
All of the photos from the Contradiction Dance after party can be seen at: www.tonypowell.smugmug.com
After viewing the art we met up with the dancers at Darlington House for a cast party/cocktail party before I needed to leave to go over to Smith Point, for Washington Life Magazine, to cover Ashley Taylor‘s fundraiser. The bad weather didn’t dampen the spirits of those who braved the rain to show there support for Once Upon a Prom, a non-profit dedicated to providing prom dresses and scholarships to under served young women in the Nation’s Capitol. Ashley’s new boyfriend Jared Cohen was there, as well as Coventry Burke, Heather Guay, Lindsay Craig, Hadley Gamble, Tate Yost Lett, Gabrielle Malman, Becca Glover, Marybeth Coleman, Sara Lang, and Anna VanMeter. Just before leaving, my friend, the writer Carol Joynt, popped in from the rain with two of her pals and unwound in a back room. I’m very comfortable behind the camera so I got a little nervous when Ashley asked me to be IN a shot with everyone. We all had a great time inside while it poured down heavily outside.
“Once Upon a Prom” photos can be found on the Washington Life Magazine website: www.washingtonlife.smugmug.com
Tags: ballet, Charles Ives, choreography, Dance, dance photography, Eliot Feld, Juilliard School, Over the Pavement, Paul Dennis, stage, Tony Powell
BLAST FROM THE PAST! I finally have some proof that I danced way back when. That’s me in the center hogging the stage. Thanks to Paul Dennis, stage left of me, for dusting off his collection of photos from back in the day. I found this photo on Facebook. Probably the most difficult piece I ever danced. Nonstop counting. Great experience working with Feld. He never screamed at me. I felt sorry for some of the others.
Eliot Feld’s “Over the Pavement.” Music by Charles Ives
Tags: Alvin Ailey, ballet, Camille Brown, choreography, Dance, Deconstruction, group piece, Hope Boykin, Judith Jamison, Philadanco, Steve Reich, summer sizzler, Tony Powell, Zane Booker
Ahh! Summer in Washington, DC. Everyone heads off to the Hamptons, the Cape, the Vineyard, or other destinations fantastic. With very few parties to photograph for the magazine over the summer, I very happily accepted an invitation from Alvin Ailey School Director Denise Jefferson to create a new ballet.
Two, 3-hour, days a week throughout the month of July produced my newest work, “Deconstruction,” for sixteen dancers, set to the music of Steve Reich. Sooooo proud of their hard work and dedication! Special thanks to Jennifer for your help in the studio as well as your dancing onstage. The piece premiered July 31st and exceeded my expectations.
Thanks Denise for the opportunity!
Highlight of the rehearsal process: Judith Jamison coming into the rehearsal, unannounced one day, and actually watching me work for a few minutes. Whenever she’s around I end up saying and doing some of the dumbest things. I have so much respect for her that I can barely think of what to say when I bump into her. It’s funny because I am around some of the most famous people on the planet on a regular basis. Can’t figure that one out.
I pray to make a ballet for the main Ailey company someday. Truly some of the greatest dancers alive!
UP NEXT – a new ballet for PHILADANCO that will premiere in the Spring of 08′. I have a really good feeling about this one. 4 World Premieres by Camille Brown, Hope Boykin, Zane Booker, and me, Tony Powell. I’m still pinching myself.