Oregon Ballet Theatre: Dancer Portraits

I love when I get to be inside the walls of Oregon Ballet Theatre’s building and watch the heat and fury that arises from the dancers as they practice. It takes enormous focus and energy to perfect those twists and turns and leaps, and to be able to witness trial after trial until they reach their aspirations is a wondrous sight.

I was there to make dancer portraits, and even though they came right from brutal practice to sit before my camera, they each faced the lens with authentic passion in their eyes.

Oregon Ballet Theatre dancer

Pink Martini + Oregon Balley Theatre

I love shooting for the Oregon Ballet Theatre, and this last shoot was exceptionally fun!

Here are two renditions of the poster they created for this performance.

Photographing Thomas Lauderdale of Pink Martini was a highlight of my career.  He was alert, game for anything, and even taught me a lesson or two.

 

OBTFINAL

OBT_25_Poster_final

A Backstage Dream

Making my way down the long dark hallway, I hear voices coming from everywhere. Booming voices, little chattering voices, a squeal of delight here and there, and just a tad of controlled angst from one isolated voice as curtain time nears.

I am backstage, at a rehearsal just before opening night of  “Dream”, Oregon Ballet Theatre’s first performance of the new season.  And I am in awe.

The elaborate costumes! The whirls of practice leaps! The whispers! The feet pawing at a box of stability ensuring rosin! The wide-eyed excitement from tiny dancer Cupid and lightning bugs and butterflies!

I don’t know much about dance except that I love to see it, and do it. Music flowing through a body, silence too: we don’t realize dance’s impact until we find ourselves shaking a leg at someone’s wedding or letting ourselves surrender to a drum in a village in Africa, or watching a professional dancer onstage move in ways we only wish we could.

Oh, how it can alter our mood, outlook on life and frame of reference to what is happiness. If only we would do it more often ourselves. But for now, our eyes can drink in the wonders of how our bodies are capable of expressing rhythm through the mastery of accomplished dancers.

Being backstage gives us a glimpse into the immense amount of work that goes into a performance.  What strikes me the most is seeing the people who are sweeping the floors: they are true dancers themselves, back and forth and back and forth, they sway as the live orchestra warms up. 

And the woman who is on duty calling the lights and curtains and stage entries…can she be more alert? Her gaze is steady and strong, coordinating so many moving parts and people and props and pulleys, yet she possesses a calm fortitude under immense pressure that is inspiring.

I wonder if being around the dancers influences a support staff’s dance. Perhaps we all should carry such grace into our daily lives.

I see a dancer, she must be new to the company, and she has the look of terror in her eyes.  But I watch her search the eyes of a principal dancer as she observes their every move. Her eyes soften and fear is replaced by confidence as she sees this seasoned dancer wink at her. And with that, she enters the stage, dances with her heart, and exits with elation.

Inspiring, energetic, passionate, and feverish.

This is Oregon Ballet Theatre.

Oregon Ballet Theatre Backstage

Oregon Ballet Theatre Backstage

Oregon Ballet Theatre Backstage

Oregon Ballet Theatre Backstage

Oregon Ballet Theatre Backstage

Oregon Ballet Theatre Backstage

Oregon Ballet Theatre Backstage

Oregon Ballet Theatre Backstage

Oregon Ballet Theatre Backstage

Oregon Ballet Theatre Backstage

Oregon Ballet Theatre

The new brochure is out for Oregon Ballet Theatre!  All of these images were shot in the studio (minus the Nutcracker images) where we worked up a sweat on a hot summer’s day.

Gard Communications did the design work and I am truly stunned at the job they did.  And, oh how those dancers can leap.  Over and over and over again.

It was an honor to be able to work on this great assignment and watch with amazement how the dancers moved and personified facial expressions on command.

 

Seasonal Brochure

Seasonal Brochure

Oregon Ballet Theatre Approves Ad

I am very excited about some great news today! While creating the headshots of all ballet dancers who dance at Oregon Ballet Theatre, I kept thinking about a potential ad for them that would enable the general public to get to know the dancers a bit more intimately.  I contacted my ad agency friend and told him what I was thinking. He created some quick concepts, we met with the marketing team at OBT, and they liked the ad.

I than contacted the editor at 1859 Magazine, asked about potentially running the ad, and today they told me that they will be the first to run the ad.  A full page ad will run in their Winter 2010 issue.

Here is the ad.  I would like this campaign to run as a series using all of the dancers’ photos and words.  We are also looking at changing the font type to be each dancer’s handwriting instead of text.

obtraychelad

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