Saturday, February 28, 2009

Follow the dance!


In the sixth chapter of 'Pride and Prejudice' by Jane Austen, a conversation takes place between Sir William Lucas and Mr. Darcy.

Sir William - "What a charming amusement for young people this is, Mr. Darcy!- There is nothing like dancing after all.-I consider it as one of the first refinements of polished societies."

Mr. Darcy - "Certainly, Sir;-and it has the advantage also of being in vogue amongst the less polished societies of the world.-Every savage can dance."

That passage always amused me, as with one simple statement of fact a rather pretentious bubble was burst.

In fact every society has its form of dance - indeed most societies have a multitude of dance forms.

Some folk even refer to the 'dance of life' just to describe normal daily activities.

That's cool - whatever floats their boat.

I guess life is a bit of a dance.  It has its movements, its pace changes, its rhythms and beats.

That's one of the reasons I love street photography and photojournalistic styles of photography.  Trying to capture the rhythm of life in a single instance. Attempting to convey a story in a single image or in just a few images.

This year it is one of my aims to produce a body of work around the theme of 'dance'.  The main way in which that will happen is in collaboration with the Cathy-Lea Academy of Performing Arts. 

For some time I've had a vague idea about working with such an academy and recently had talks with Cathy Lea.  There is a slight difference between this project and others that I have worked on in the past.

The main difference is that there is actually no defined outcome, no defined timeline and no formal project management in place!  Yep - I can hear you now shouting "Recipe for disaster!"

Maybe - maybe not.

Actually it is an intriguing concept for both parties.  It won't cost anything except some time and some petrol money - big deal.  As we see it, the project will actually take on a life of its own in a somewhat 'organic' way.

Basically it will be a visual diary, or a 'year in the life' type of project.  I'll visit the studios to observe classes, watch rehearsals, attend performances and record the minutiae of the workings of the academy. Paraphernalia, equipment, candid portraits, gestures, light, form and movement are what I want to capture.

Eventually we will no doubt get our heads together to try to decide what we will do with the images.  In the meantime hopefully a reasonable body of work will be compiled.

Should be interesting and I am certainly excited by the prospects.

Every now and then I'll post an image or two on this site. These images were made in the backstage area while the dancers were waiting for their stage time at an outdoor performance. I hope you will enjoy the work as it is revealed. As always, please feel free to leave your comments.

Please note that the images on the Cathy Lea Academy site are not my images. All credit and copyright for images currently on that site belong to other photographers.

Whatever your dance is - keep dancing!

Stay safe.


  1. Hey Bill! I didn't know about this project. I wish you well. I like some of these images already. I am sure the year ahead will provide you with many more!

  2. Thanks for the well wishes. It should be an interesting few months ahead.
    As I mentioned - who knows where it will lead - but the possibilities are endless. That's the beauty of photography!!