Choreographer Bryan Arias delivers notes to Owen/Cox dancers during lighting tech in Yardley Hall at JCCC Tuesday Sept 13th.
Note: The use of "off site" for rehearsals means "not at JCCC's Midwest Trust Center." All rehearsals are on the site of each company's home location.
Störling Dance Theater
Wylliams-Henry Contemporary Dance Company
Owen/Cox Dance Group
Kansas City Ballet
Also links to other JCCC events pictured on this site
NDP September 2014
NDP September 2015
Jonah Bokaer April 2016
NDP At DanceUSA June 2017
NDP September 2017
NDP September 2018
NDP September 2019
COVID 2020- all online
NDP September 2021, stills only
NDP September 2022 (this)
A note about these pictures, and all my dance pictures
I was reminded this weekend (Saturday) of the separation between what almost all other photographers do, how they work and how they approach a job, versus how the tiny handful of dance photographers work. It so happened I had a number of paper prints in 11x17 (not my largest) with me which I showed to a small group of photographers. I don't think you can really see the images if you don't print them large, on paper.
Getting those responses from those professional photogs made me think I needed to say something here. Something I never normally do.
However my experience with other photographers is that most will turn at flank speed and run like crazy for the hills if you even mention dance lessons. No wonder they have a tough time knowing what to shoot for dance.
So, just a brief interruption, or - please jump ahead to the items below.
The group of (non-dance) photographers asked:
1 - "Clues? Hints? List of?"
2 - "How many frames per second?"
3 - "They obviously set time aside on stage or in the studio to shoot these."
4 - one more tip they didn't ask about. Use DSLR's and not mirrorless. Mirrorless are a godsend where they work well, like any other tool used to its strength, such as grip-and-grin pictures, gatherings, events, because you can adjust all the exposures as you view it. But the electronic viewfinder shows you what happened, not what is happening. For example, my partner, Nicole, was teaching a skirt dance when I got my Z6 mirrorless (for the Hays Symphony, hoping it was quieter). She gripped the hem of her dress and moved it in an arc in front of and above her. In the viewfinder I shot as she gripped the skirt hem below and left of her. However, instead of getting her just picking up the hem, I got the skirt as a large half circle in front of her, high above her upper right, hiding her. So the viewfinder display was 4-5 feet behind the actual action. (Symphony note: the viewfinder display was too slow for the conductor, too.) A DSLR, where you look through the lens directly, is right on. An awful lot can happen inside a second. The exact right moment is a tiny fraction of time within any second.
|And now, back to our page.|
Companies in program order
Choreographer: Charissa Barton
Mary Pat Henry: Artistic Director
"Keep the Moon on Time"
Choreographer: Ryan Arias (with Alba Castillo)
Artistic Director: Co-Founder, Jennifer Owen
Taylor Collier, Emara Neymour Jackson, Shaina McGregor, Sam McReynolds,
Christopher Page-Sanders, Laura Jones Wallner, Christian A. Warner
Pronounced "sterling" as in sterling silver (Swedish).
"I Have to See You"
Choreographer: Victoria Marks - in collaboration with the performers
Alexis Massey and Robbie Button contributed essential
early contributions to the vocabulary of this dance.
The Störling dancers have been extraordinary collaborators,
and I offer my deepest gratitude for their profound imprint on this work.
Mona and Jeremiah, thank you for so generously inviting me into
Dancers:Tiffany Best, Brianna Collins, Molly Cook,
"Life Within a Letter"
Choreographer: Stephanie Martinez
Artistic Director: Devon Carney
My new work for Kansas City Ballet will explore the almost lost art
of writing and receiving letters. In a time of instant communication,
I think back to how written correspondence shaped our lives and relationships.
The anticipation of receipt and the intimacy of holding someone's words has a vastly different effect
on a person than the alert of a text or email. Moments of humor, heartbreak and the mundane -
my work will make you wonder "What was in that letter?" — Stephanie Martinez
|Lighting Design: Burke Brown
Artistic Advisor: Michael Uthoff
All works were commissioned by the Midwest Trust Center (formerly Carlsen Center) of Johnson County Community College
Behind The Scenes Video
Behind the scenes "Getting to" video at: https://vimeo.com/754045332
30 minute video above on my Vimeo site
Tiffany Best, Brianna Collins, Molly Cook, Laura Fiatte, Beret Holaday,
Amy Hull, Katarina Larson, Heidi Loubser, Ashley Moehlenhoff Breanne Risenhoover,
Jillian Sivewright, Alexandra Smith, Alexandra Wilson, Andrea Wolfe
Off-site rehearsal at Culture House in Olathe, Kansas.
Victoria Marks, choreographer, with her dancers, onstage for tech, wednesday the 14th
Alexis Borth, Roma Catania, Caroline Dahm, Sarah McGuyer, Ashlan Zay
Off-site rehearsal at UMKC Dance Division (here studio 128)
Charissa Barton, choreographer with Wylliams/Henry in Saturday night pre-performance talk. Victoria Marks, Störling choreographer to her left.
L-R: Roma Catania and Alexis Borth in "Calaboose"
Alexis Borth (front), Sarah McGuyer, Roma Catania
Ashlan Zay, Alexis Borth, Roma Catania, Carolyn Dahm, Sarah McGuyer
Sarah McGuyer (front), Roma Catania, Carolyn Dahm
Bow practice at dress. L-R: Carolyn Dahm, Ashlan Zay, choreograher Charissa Barton, Roma Catania, Alexis Borth, Sarah McGuyer
Notes and ... after - Mary Pat Henry at right, front.
Choreographer: Bryan Arias
Rehearsal director:Alba Castillo
Taylor Collier, Emara Neymour Jackson, Shaina McGregor, Sam McReynolds,
Christopher Page-Sanders, Laura Jones Wallner, Christian A. Wamer
Off-site rehearsal at Kansas City Young Artists 37th and Main.
Choreographer Bryan Arias working out a move with his cofounder of Snorkel Rabbit (dance company) and rehearsal director Alba Castillo (husband and wife).
Owen/Cox off-site rehearsal at Kansas City Young Artists.
Notes after tech wednesday the 14th with dancers, Artistic director Jennifer Owen and New Dance Partners Artistic Advisor Michael Uthoff
Choreographer: Irene Rodriquez
Amanda DeVenuta, Georgia Fuller, Taryn Mejia, Naomi Tanioka,
Isaac Allen, Alladson Barreto, Angelin Carrant, Cameron Thomas
Off-site rehearsal at Bolender Center (above) and the same moment (below) in dress.
Cameron Thomas with a "letter"
Amanda DeVenuta and Alladson Barreto
Tech 15 Sept. L-R: KC Ballet's rehearsal director Kristi Capps (holding notepad) directing Cameron Thomas (holding prop mail)
Break during early rehearsal at Bolender Center, going from prop letters to electronic texts and email.
Front is Taryn Mejia, behind Whitney Huell and Naomi Tanioka.
The rehearsals had as many as 14 dancers (backups, just in case) with eight dancers performing.
Taryn Mejia drops into a catch by Alladson Barreto after Taryn
stood on his shoulders entering from stage left, then jumping
Amanda DeVenuta (left) and Taryn Mejia
Isaac Allen lifts Naomi Tanioka waving a red prop envelope - the mail.
Company class with stage crew on meal break.
NDP Artistic Advisor Michael Uthoff leading company class before dress, noon Friday the 16th
Michael Uthoff (artistic advisor), Emily Behrmann (newly retired general manager of Midwest Trust Center JCCC),
Mona Störling-Enna (Störling Dance Theatre) and Victoria Frank (choreographer), with discussion and notes
after a rehearsal run of Störling Dance Theater in Olathe.
Kansas City Ballet "Dance Speaks" series at Bolender Center, the first live "Dance Speaks" since before COVID.
In the middle is choreograper Stephanie Martinez, to her right is her assistant Noelle Kayser
and to her left is KC Ballet's artistic director Devon Carney who is conducting the interview for a live audience.
(note: left to right: Noelle, Stephanie, Devon)
Bolender Center, home of the Kansas City Ballet
"How the Post Office Created America"
6 – The Tactile Feel of "The Mail"
This is Mike Strong, in Hays, for HPPR
As I was working on reviewing Winifred Gallagher's book, I was also shooting photos and video for a dance concert. One of the pieces was nostalgic about physical, paper mail. Specifically, about getting paper rather than texts or email.
The new technology to create texts and email is an electronic extension of physical mail. Physical mail in the 1800's was social media for then, as well as commercial communication. Both paper and electronic delivery depend on the same type of underlying addressing structure. The address is a location. The deliverable item is a tactile connection.
The September concert I was shooting, New Dance Partners, is a program from Johnson County Community College which brings four choreographers together with four dance companies to create, from scratch, in a month or so, new choreographies which are then performed in concert.
There are four companies, Störling Dance Theater, Wylliams/Henry Contemporary, Owen/Cox Dance Group and Kansas City Ballet.
This year I also spent more time shooting off-site rehearsals, catching the beginnings for each work for a behind the scenes documentation. The work at Kansas City Ballet (KCB) didn't yet have a name and the rehearsal props were not obvious mail pieces.
By the second rehearsal with KCB, for what would be named "Life Within a Letter," I knew that choreographer Stephanie Martinez, from Chicago, was celebrating "the mail" as a physical object you could touch.
"Life Within a Letter" is a whimsical piece with dancers turning, leaping, throwing and catching other dancers in simulated ecstasies of delight and wonder as they hold high, large red envelopes. As a dance photographer this was fun.
As a dancer, this is hard work. KCB had more dancers rehearsing than the eight performing. That allows the company to change casting as needed, such as for another show, and for injuries. There were some cast changes.
Stephanie Martinez' note for the performance program reads:
Stephanie had large red prop envelopes for the dancers to hold out as they moved. The sense of touch, of holding the paper someone had sent, was in the movement. The pleasure of touch.
In breaks, the dancers would drop those big red prop envelopes. The dancers would pick up their phones. Faces intently peered at texts and messages and emails. Posts to like, messages to respond to and children to check on.
Sometimes, as I showed my pictures after a rehearsal, especially the high carry with a drop by Taryn into a basket catch, I would be asked to please "put that on Instagram" so everyone can see. No one asked me to send them a letter with those pictures.
Communication, as Alexis de Toqueville concluded in his book "Democracy in America" (1835) is the developer of civilization.
This is Mike Strong, in Hays, for HPPR Radio Readers Book Club
648 Words, 3824 characters between intro and outro – audio file length 3:58 as submitted