Archive for the ‘dancing’ Category

Moravia, Colombia

November 17, 2009 4 comments

We gathered in a two-story brick and cement building in the middle of Moravia. Climbing stairs slowly as little feet ran past me, laughing. The stench didn’t matter. The language barrier didn’t quite matter, either. We were meeting to rehearse for the big concert. They had been rehearsing for months, and this was their time to show me what they had learned. I doubt I could be glowing more than when I watched them move.

They motioned for me to join in on the movement. I danced, they danced, we danced — back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Laughter being our melody continually those two hours of time.

We watched the sun go down together. No flashes with me – just natural light and a high ISO at sundown and then, altogether, no more camera. No more snapshots. Just us.

I’m a little more confident in my skill of salsa thanks to these young ones who could do the steps in their sleep. They shrieked and their eyes widened when I would lift a girl onto my back and walk across the room, spinning her, and placing her back on her feet. Potentially a bad idea, because every little girl in the room now had to do the very same thing. Then, they caught on to the movement and copied… lifting friends and laughing, walking across the room with me.

Movement allowed me to communicate what my tongue could not, and I am thankful.

There are currently very difficult, finanical situations occurring with Open Arms Foundation.
I will be posting a letter from the Founder, Bill Perrow, and express the need to
continue to be aware of in helping these street children in Colombia find a home again.

I will be selling photographs from my time in Colombia to help keep the Foundation doors open.
More information to come this week.


Dance Shoot: Lauren Dittebrand

October 26, 2009 3 comments

Lauren is a company member with the River City Youth Ballet in Charleston, WV. She is also a senior, and is an aspiring contemporary dancer. Really excited to see where her talent will take her.

Such a moody, Friday evening. These were taken at what is becoming one of my favorite places to shoot. It had rained all day, but the sky graciously cleared into a deep blue mess for hour 2-hr shoot.

Definitely difficult to pick favorites.

Best of luck to you, Lauren. : )

Categories: dancing, fashion

What I’ve Been Doing All Week:

The assistants: Alli (lighting/tech), myself (photographer), Lauren (dance director/choreographer), Caitlin (helper w/ dancers), Ashley (helper w/ dancers).

Lots of editing to come.

Categories: adventures, dancing

dance photography

I really think I’m going to do more of this. It felt second nature… Since I’ve danced for 14 years of my life, it only made sense to start doing some dance photography. I’m excited about where this will go. I’m hoping to start working with companies here in the area very soon (I’ve already been in contact with a few).  Kathleen is an absolute natural! Loved working with her… thanks, Kathleen : )

[Kathleen is a company dancer at River City Youth Ballet]







Categories: Art/Photography, dancing

the hodge podge in my head

February 21, 2008 5 comments

When did this all suddenly become about me? We are all selfish by nature. Our hearts are foolish even though we long for them to be wise. We are all an aching people – needy, poor, filthy. I want to turn my skin inside out to see what lies underneath. I want to know my condition, I want to know what I am capable of, I want opportunity. There are so many voices that are uttered on the highest hill, the tallest mountain, the most rural roads, hidden places in dark alleyways, staircases in apartment buildings, closets in suburban homes – voices that have yet to be heard. It frustrates me that some of the most gifted people of our day will most likely never have a chance to be heard by the masses; they will most likely never have a chance to speak. It frustrates me that I can’t give them that opportunity. I hear it, I see it, I’m searching for it wherever I am. I listen for the voice in the alleyway, in the apartment sitting on the couch, in the ‘middle of nowhere’ when it is, really, somewhere so significant.

Who tells us that we are not important? That we are too fat, too skinny, too tall, too short, too awkward, too clumsy, too much, too little? Who are we listening to? Where are we finding ourselves? Who are we finding ourselves in? Where does our very identity lie? Who tells us who we are? Is there anyone at all encouraging, inspiring, listening and loving us? Who are “they” anyway? Why has it become so difficult to bring unity in a community? Why are we all so separated underneath our banners of hate, of insecurity, of loneliness – when there could be love, hope and a journey we can take together? Who told us that none of this was possible? Who did we allow to take our hope, our joy?

I, for one, am ready for a completely new direction – and I have been searching my soul and other souls for the answer. I am up late, sleeping little and waking early. I’m restless, I am at peace, I am in need of something new. Don’t give me the old answers – they won’t work anymore. There is something new on the horizon. I feel it in my bones. My veins quiver with a new, rushing blood of hope and urgency for the voices – the voices that have yet to be heard.

I think I’m ready to risk it all. That is by far not an easy statement. Notice the word, “think” is also adoring the sentence. I so desperately want to give it all. As I’m writing all of this, I’m painting movement in my mind – a beautiful forward and back motion – give, take, give, take… A healthy, balanced way of loving. But in this specific movement, it is easy to fall.

In dancing, there is not one movement you can do to be completely closed off to the audience. There are movements of mystery, of suspense, of intrigue – but you are always open. Your heart is always on the line. The gliding, sharp and poetic movements leave you feeling naked with moments of security. In dance, you can do nothing but leave your heart bare on the stage.

I liken love to dancing. Funny how everything I write somehow comes back to the way we love – but I’m honestly trying to figure out how. It’s a forward and back motion, a healthy give and take, easy to fall – but with practice, precision and trust in the other, you will remain standing. Even if you fall, those are the movements of disgrace, followed by another movement of grace – the movements where we learn humility and surrender. The movements where we understand the need of another. When loving, you lay bare. You lay bare on the stage of life.

When dancing, there is no movement where you can fully close yourself off to your audience. It is a freeing and whole experience when glimpses of your insecurities, strong points, hopes and fears appear before the eyes of others… and regardless if they are accepted, you have been honest, you have been beautiful and you are still just as beautiful when you exit the stage. Nothing has been taken from you. By risking, all you have done is strengthened and enhanced who you are. You have learned. You have aged. You have matured. You have loved. That’s what love does to you.

Life is as choreography. Each thought, each word, each decision, each emotion paints your story in movement. I choreograph so that others can actually have a physical representation of what life looks like – so that they can begin to answer the questions and walk away with a new outlook. I feel like photography and dance go hand in hand because it is also a visual art where you capture movement. And because I have felt movement since I was a little girl, I can feel when to click the shutter to capture it. My love for dance came first, then my love for photography. I am still trying to figure out how to do both – because I know that is how I speak. I speak through movement and still-captured movement.

All I want is to better others’ voices with my own. I want to bring attention to voices that have yet to be heard – or can’t utter loud enough for the mass media to hear (which is somehow our fault). We are focusing on the most ridiculous things and creating a society that the next generation will suffer in. They will suffer from never understanding sacrificial love, authenticity in everything and the virtue of humility. It seems that those who have the least actually have the most. I wish we could strip down society and begin again in so many ways. But, because that is simply impossible, there needs to be some major rebuilding happening. What are the cornerstones of our society – especially here in America? I’m afraid to even answer that question. Our condition is sick. At the same time, we can’t focus all on the bad, but also on the good. There is this strength of good in all of us that God placed there. We will begin to see change when we rightfully learn how to tap into that strength in the midst of our weakness as a people, as a community and as a nation. There is no good in us expect through Him by grace. But then I think, “how in the world do we communicate that to those who don’t know? They’ll think we’re crazy… all these ‘spiritual’ things we talk about – they don’t buy it. I haven’t been brainwashed, I’ve just been enlightened by truth.” Maybe that’s why I choose to put my faith into movement as well – God is way better at communicating anyway, we just have to learn to listen.

It’s certainly scary for me to let you see my condition right now. I am a struggling artist learning to love, working in whatever community I find myself in, learning to listen, learning how to have my voice heard and lead others to have their voices heard as well. I am tackling huge questions like, “how can I, of all people, change the world?” I think of so many great, influential people of our time and how they changed the world… and sometimes even more so after their death. Will I see the fruit of my labor while I’m still alive? Maybe, maybe not. I’m learning to actually let God lead my every step… which is a lot harder than it sounds. I’m diligently writing out my thoughts in journal after journal after journal – hoping to pass it on to the next and somehow help them along their way. I’m building onto the foundation of my thought and world view. I’m beginning to write a lot more, and sharing it a lot more. Why keep it to myself? What do I have to loose? My reputation? Heh – what reputation? : ) Everyone has a different opinion of me and those opinions don’t change the core of who I am. I am becoming more confident. I am facing my fears. I am taking deep breaths along the way, I am crying along the way, I am aching on the way, I am growing along the way and in the end… I am better. My life isn’t about all that I can do – but all that I can be… and what I do will flow from that. I used to have it backwards and got nothing accomplished. Well… honestly… it appeared that I got TONS accomplished, but really, all I did was continue to be empty. There’s been a huge shift and change in me. I keep saying that, I know. It’s still happening and I hope it will continue until the day I die.

I only have one life. I serve only one incredible God. I only have one heart. What is there to loose, really? I don’t want to sit in not knowing. As some say, “To risk, is to win.” And this time, I actually do believe in what “they” say because I didn’t take their word for it. Don’t take my word for it, either. Risk. Risk it all. Safe is a myth.