Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Problems with Posing

The last week has been a whirlwind. I completed a costume for a photo shoot I had lined up and that alone seemed like a race to the finish line. The photo shoot was an impulse event spurred on solely by the fact that a really wonderful dance photographer was going to be in Austin for a couple of days only. Pixie is her name, and very cool photos are her game.

I knew I had less than ten days to get everything ready to go. Although I knew I couldn't lose 20 pounds in that time, I wanted to feel completely confident and fabulous. The costume was more work than expected but came out wonderfully. I tried waxing my underarms for the first time (ungodly painful....but actually worth it), did my nails (which means I can't type fast right now), and even practiced eye make up applications several times.

I spent so much time working on the logistics I forgot about the emotional and physical sides of this. I've done shoots before but they were much more posed and choreographed. Imagine my surprise then when she wanted me to move more, but not in the way I was used to dancing. Every little nuance that would work on stage looked really bad on film, which now explains why my dance photos rarely turn out!

Between her barking out instructions and my mind rushing to interpret them, somewhere along the way my self-confidence and ego were just shattered. I felt overwhelmed, stiff, uncomfortable and awkward. Even my hands didn't know how to behave! I'm known for my graceful hand and arm movements but apparently they took the day off. It was an incredibly long hour and I truly felt stripped, exposed and not very joyful.

That one hour taught me more about where I need to improve as a dancer than any workshop I've ever attended. It was such a hard lesson to learn and not at all what my ego was expecting this week. She wanted joy, but I fell short. She wanted smouldering, and I fizzled. She wanted warrior and I wimped out. She wanted confidence and grace and I had none. In the end I felt like I had run a marathon without the endorphin rush.

I did learn that what translates on stage doesn't always translate to photos. You can make grand sweeping gestures, flick your hair or dazzle people with spins, however one on one with a camera those moves don't matter, they don't count and they don't work. I learned yesterday that I hide behind a variety of moves in my dance that may not always serve me well. So, my work is to let go of them, explore different movement and really assess how I want to be perceived as a dancer.

In the meantime, I do have some lovely photos to enjoy. I walked away with over 200 photos taken, about 35 that I'm pondering, and I'll end up with 12-15 that will be edited for publicity purposes. So, there were moments where I triumphed, where I hit the mark, where I was completely in the moment but it sure took a lot of work to get there!


Casey said...

Can't wait to see your photos!

Pixie did a Kan Zaman group shoot with Bahaia and it was definitely a learning experience for me. Lee Ann and I came away from it with a new appreciation for the work models do.