Blog #149 4/5/16
David Parsons, The One and Only
Dance Magazine had asked me to make photographs of the great dancer and choreographer David Parsons, whose company has become known worldwide for its athleticism, power, and inventiveness.
In his prime performing years, David was phenomenally creative; making images of him was only a matter of constructing the lighting, adding energizing music and letting him do what he does best. Our sessions were a kind of textbook for dancers.
This collage of David Parsons is included in this: http://schatzimages25years-glitterati.com
Dancers, especially ballet dancers whose every move is ordered, directed, and corrected by a ballet master with an extremely discerning and critical eye, can be somewhat at a loss without this kind of close direction. (This is not as often the case with modern dancers.) What I often do to achieve spontaneity is to get them to let themselves go, to stop thinking about doing something “correctly,” to give up their concern for perfection.
Parsons dancer Ian Spring
I ask dancers to imagine that they are children, moving freely without thought. Sometimes that works. When it doesn’t, I try other things such as, “Throw your body sideways,” or “Think peculiar, bizarre, distorted, contorted.” And finally, “Surprise me with something ridiculous.“
Parsons dancer Leeann Ramsey
Most times something works. I never say, “No! Not that.” Instead, I use the “Yes, and (not but)…” approach. “Great, do it again and add a twist, or bring your right knee to your chin, or swing your right arm over your head.” Anything to get them out of control, past their formal limitations. “Let your body GO! And you will surprise yourself!”
Parsons dancer Eric Bourne
When we are close to something that looks good, I show them the images and get them to push further, adding energy, height and abandon. I make all sorts of directorial suggestions, urging the dancer to perform wild and wonderful things for the camera.
Parsons dancer Abby Silva Gavezzoli
With David Parsons, a dancer turned choreographer, this was not needed. He was naturally, spontaneously and improvisationally free, inventive and exciting; an unusual and wonderful phenomenon.
I am teaching a 4-day workshop the Palm Springs Photo Festival this Spring (end of April).
The workshop is called: “THE INSPIRED EYE: Experimentation, Exploration & Discovery: A Search for the Unexpected.”
To view more of my work, visit my website.