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  • Writer's pictureMary

Why don't we just dance

News and weddings have routinely been the most challenging things I shoot. Weddings are always tough because the conditions are nearly always worse than ideal. Whether it's because the lighting is bad, it rains on us, the bride and groom decide to switch sides at the last minute, or a groomsman has one too many adult beverages and wants to photobomb every photo we take, they're challenging at best, however, very predictable. During the reception you know when and where the main events are taking place, where to stand for the cake cutting, usually what that lighting looks like (dark), know that they'll be dancing by themselves for the first dance, predictable.

Some of my my photojournalism assignments have been the toughest to shoot so far. Bad lighting, poor timing, people standing in the way, police not letting you through, and only once fraction of a second to capture a great image that's most certainly out of your control. News has always been a great challenge.

Until now-

We shot a dance performance for Spotlight Dance Studio and their incredibly skilled dancers in at the Temple Civic and Conference Center just the other day and man, what a challenge. 100 dancers zipping around the stage, jumping, spinning, jumping, spinning, doing these kneeling bending moves, it was chaotic.

Without having the chance to attend the rehearsal, I went in to this not knowing who the top dancers were, what the program looked like, or what was going to happen in each dance. A chaotic haphazard way to go into one of these types of shoots for sure, leaving a lot of guess work during the shoot.

Where we lacked in understanding, we gained in opportunity. Not knowing who was going to jump, or spin, or contort during each dance meant that I had to always track the entire stage, watch each dancer and the movement of the performance to best land a photo. Fortunately, there were so many dances, each one repeating dancers that eventually you learn who the top performers are and you get a feel for when they'll jump.

I've done video for dances before, and while fun and challenging in it's own right, I found that I really quite enjoy shooting a dance performance. The thrill of chasing that challenge, pushing your equipment, your skill and your muscles to the max to ensure that you walk out of there with good images. I can't wait until the next one!

Find more of our photos on our Oakheart Instagram page or on Mike's page @mikebartoszek

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