A rare opportunity arose last week, with Wigan 10, to photograph some classical ballet dancers. It was very short notice…we found out just hours before the shoot that both the dancers and the studio would be available…and while I was preparing for the shoot, I started to reminisce about times past when a visit to the ballet was quite a common occurrence and one which I loved.
As a child I dreamed of ballet lessons and I used to walk past the ballet shop in town on a Saturday afternoon and gaze at the ballet and tap shoes and wonder what it would be like to be on the stage! But it wasn’t to be.
Much later, my husband was part of the firm of Architects who were responsible for the refurbishment of the Palace Theatre and the Opera House in Manchester. That’s when we started to go to the ballet and my love of classical dance really took hold. I especially remember watching the great Rudolph Nureyev dance Don Quixote at the Manchester Palace…so many years ago but still completely memorable and magical. I never though that, many years later, I would be photographing dancers rather than watching performances…how life changes!
Anyway, back to our studio shoot with two young dancers on the brink of their career. There were six of us available to go on the shoot…on the one hand this is a lovely number for a sociable day out together…on the other hand, there is a danger of getting in each other’s way or taking the same photographs! This was avoided by an agreement to take ten minute sessions each before handing over to the next photographer. Whew! how quickly does ten minutes go, especially if you want to change the lights. It really concentrates the mind! Luckily the dancers had endless patience and seemingly endless energy.
Here are a couple of photos from the shoot and a picture of the three Wigan 10 ladies there on the day, taken by Maurice and titled by him (with a wry smile) “The Three Graces”. Alternative titles have been suggested, but definitely not to be repeated!
…and the following © Maurice Jones…
Note added January 2014: Maurice Jones, pictured on the extreme left of the last photo, sadly died only a couple of weeks after the ballet shoot, after battling against cancer for several months. We shall all miss him very much at Wigan 10. He was an inspiration to us all, a fun-loving character with a great sense of humour and cared very much about his photography club. Maurice was still winning awards with his photographs during his last few weeks and he would have loved to have seen what we produced from this shoot.