“All that is important is this one moment in movement. Make the moment important, vital, and worth living. Do not let it slip away unnoticed and unused.”-Martha Graham
Dance is a language of the body, able to convey the most complex of emotions and ideas without words, through a collection of moving body parts, of arms, hands, legs, feet, backs, chests. These movement can be studied and appreciated individually, or be strung together to create a piece of choreography. Capturing the movement of dance has always fascinated artists of all mediums, especially after the advent of photography. Edgar Degas dedicated much of his career as “an endless search for the means to convey the dancer’s movements and positions” through painting, pastels, and photography. I have always sought ways to combine my passions for both photography and dance in my art making practice, finding that both art forms share many fundamental elements, such as line, shape, form, negative space, texture, light, and value.
With my work, I have followed the example set by Degas and other artists, except I have created portraits of dance itself, rather than portraits of dancers. I have captured on moments within a piece, frozen and isolated the time-based movements and recombined them to visualize an entire dance piece as a two-dimensional object. Photography allows me to capture the most subtle of movements so that they may be appreciated beyond happening just in that time. Through photography, the viewer can study and analyze moments and movements more carefully, which they cannot do when viewing a performance of a piece. Each of these composite photographs is a piece of choreography performed in its entirety by a single dancer with 80 isolated parts chosen to represent the piece as a whole. I have eliminated elements of the dancer which would give them an identity, while emphasizing gesture and retaining the feeling of the choreography. This way the movements become the subjects of the photographs. A special thank you to Brenna, Breanne, Julia, Quinlyn, Emily, Jessi, Michele, and Sharon for their beautiful and inspiring work as choreographers and dancers.