I was recently invited to photograph the Verdi Academy of Dance dress rehearsal of “Alice in Wonderland” at Oñate’s Performing Arts Center.
The show consisted of a ballet-based version of Alice in Wonderland featuring the younger dancers of the Academy, while the second half of the show featured the older dancers in more traditional ballet. There was also a solo performance by the instructor, Verónica Orta.
With a low light performance like this, my inclination is to go with a fixed focal length lens, but with my location right in front of the stage and the action happening so quickly across the entire stage, it made more sense to rely on my zooms: the 24-70mm and the 70-200mm. The lighting on the subjects was bright enough that I could open up the aperture to 3.2 to 4.0 to get a sharper image and still freeze the action.
The biggest challenge in my mind that makes performance dance difficult to photograph is finding the perfect moment to capture the dancer’s expression, energy, and movement. It’s inspiring to see the results of their devotion and hard work.