ADC Evolution rehearsal

Yesterday I photographed the rehearsal of the ADC dance show Evolution. The show is produced by Tania Clarke, and showcases many of Cambridge’s dance talents. The Homerton dance studio is about as far away as you can get from where I live and the weather forecast had predicted rain, and in truth the skies opened shortly after I left home, and subsided as I arrived. Luckily my backpack kept my gear dry.

With me I had my 35 mm and my 50 mm lenses. This gave me some versatility depending on how big the space would be. I also had brought my flashes with me, but they remained in the backpack. We were on a tight schedule so most of the dance groups only had 20 minutes, a few had 40 minutes. Each dance routine was done twice with a quick chat in between. One of the great things about this rehearsal was that despite the tight schedule there were more opportunities for me to chat with the dancers, as there were lots of little breaks. So hopefully there should be some more dance photo shoots coming…

Sadie Clark (left) and a friend from Bodyworks. After their group performed I got a few minutes to do a few photos. The background was a bit noisy here, so we moved to another end of the room to take some more shots. In the end I decided to go with this shot despite the background, because they were smiling. Lesson: Smiles trumps noisy background.
Tania Clarke watching one of the groups perform. As she sat down, I asked her to shift one metre to the left, so that she would have the mirror behind her. I considered mirroring the image to make the text easier to read, but then forgot it when I was editing.
This photo is like a rescued dog. It started out in the discarded pile, but the symmetry with their arms drew my eyes. I cropped it in a bit closer, and it went from being a reject to being one of my favourite photos from the day. Here Leora Taratula-Lyons
Rich Man’s Frug: Leora Amy Taratula-Lyons, Caroline Hopper,Francesca Ebel, Megan Henson, Gabrielle Koupparis, Jasmine Walter and Emily Davey.
Caroline Hopper in front of the mirror. I snapped three quick frames, two of which I was happy with. This is the one where Leora is visible also. I like the frame within the frame.
I originally shot this photo vertical, but did not like it. It was only when I cropped in on their heads that it started to look good to me. The close crop better focuses the photo on the repetitive pose.
Leora Amy Taratula-Lyons, Caroline Hopper, Jasmine Walter, Emily Davey and Katie Duce. I wanted a photo with the selfie t-shirt, so we staged this.

Before arriving I had received a schedule with the different dance groups, so I knew there were 23 items on the agenda, a bit over 5 hours. To make sure I would have enough space on my camera for all groups I budgeted 50 photos per group, and even went back and deleted a few bad photos to stay within the limit, something I would not normally do. The thing is that I need to leisurely burn photos to get into the flow — get an impulse *click* — otherwise I start to overthink things. Part way through I came across Real Human Beings and got trigger happy… Whoops! Luckily my memory cards lasted the entire day.

Hao Feng warming up. I asked him to move in front of the window to get some nice shadows. There is quite a strong vignetting added, and I have also darkened the shadows in the lower half of the photo to make them stand out more.
I liked Alys Williams’ pose as she was waiting for the phone to ring. Her and Hao’s dance was a masterpiece in story telling.


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Isabelle Barber, Gabrielle Koupparis, Megan Henson, Evie Howard, Eleanor Mack and Caroline Hopper.
Archi Srini performing her solo dance. When she sat down in the light of the window I started shooting multiple photos, hoping for a pose that would make the photo a keeper.
I am not sure if it is a strongman competition or a dance show anymore. The acrobalance people impressed with their strength and control.
Luciana Boon at the start of her performance. The rolled up sweater in front of her symbolises a teddy bear, or something.
Tania’s choreography “First flight”.


I hope you liked this quick glimpse from the rehearsal. The show premieres on January 20th (2015), you can find the tickets here. Go check it out, there are some really amazing dance numbers! I plan on photographing the dress rehearsal also, so stay tuned.

Update: You can find all blog posts on this page.


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