Focusing on Dance

‘In the context of Big Dance 2012, English National Ballet is presenting two beautiful evenings of dance in the prestigious City Hall. Under the title Dance in Focus and associated with the exhibition along the City Hall Café ramp, the first appointment was dedicated to photography. Featuring the critically acclaimed dance photographer Chris Nash and choreographer Hubert Essakow the event showed the results of different arts coming together.

The City Hall’s Chamber, a beautiful spiralling space projected by the renowned architect Norman Foster, proved to be the perfect setting for Essakow’s choreography. The big windows enhanced the airiness of the dancers’ silhouettes stretching and dancing to experimental cello music against the sun setting on the Thames. Essakow’s inspiration has been a series of images produced by 22 emerging dance photographers during workshops lead by Nash earlier this year [Read more: A picture is worth a thousand words].

Essakow has worked with the images concentrating on the two stages of photography – gathering of ideas and final execution in front of the camera.
The performance was followed by a very informative talk on Nash’s own production from his early works to the most recent images. With Nash’s choreographic approach to photography as a linking thread it became obvious how dance (focused on movement in space) and photography (two-dimensional still images) are apparently opposite.

The collaboration between these two art forms has uncovered many parallels in the creative process as for example the long selection process. As foreign languages, these are two that have to be learnt, and English National Ballet Artist and dance photographer Amber Hunt joined the final panel discussion as fluent in both. Photographers have to learn about dance, and dancers about photography; but most importantly ‘no camera technology can replace the eye of the skilled photographer’ (Chris Nash).’

The Dance in Focus exhibition can be visited until Sunday 15 July.

Katja Vaghi