In my last few blogs, I've written about the upcoming audition season, and today, I want to address one of the most important parts of the process: Audition photos. Most summer programs, schools and companies will ask you to bring photos of yourself in certain poses; I've seen first arabesque, developpe a la seconde, attitude croise and others requested. The hard part, obviously, is not doing these poses, it's getting them to look good on film.
Last year, I went to a studio and had some photos taken. I was excited, because I hadn't had any shots done in years, and felt like the shape I was in at the time would guarantee a good look for the camera. However, I had underestimated how difficult it is to get a good shot of even just one pose. After doing some first arabesques in front of the mirror, I was satisfied, and told the photographer to go ahead and start shooting. Boy, was I disappointed when I looked at the first few pictures on his camera screen. My line was nothing like I had wanted it to be. I got discouraged, because I thought I had a good arabesque, and I began to worry that this is what I always looked like in class. It took a long time, and a pep talk, to get just one picture that I felt I could live with. I understood, then, why the photographers at our cover shoots take hours to get a good photo for the cover, and shoot hundreds of frames. It's about catching the dancer at just the right moment, when everything is aligned, and the expression, and expansion of the movement is at its fullest. This doesn't always happen right away.
I think every dancer has had this same experience. But when you go into the studio to take your audition photos, keep in mind that ballet is moving art, and that these steps weren't really meant to be captured as still images. Don't lose confidence if you see a not-so-great picture of yourself, and remember to be patient. Plan on taking a couple of hours, and trying different poses. It helps to have a teacher with you who can correct your placement, and also to communicate with the photographer about when exactly he should press button, and what moment of movement you're really looking for. And, most importantly--don't forget to smile.