Some of you know that I shot "Little Ballerinas" this week. What I really shot was over 300 dancers, ages 5 to adult, doing a huge variety of dance styles, as part of the annual Los Olivos Dance Gallery's CENTER STAGE performance at the Solvang, California, Theaterfest. LODG is run by Maggie Mesikep, Artistic Director, and her husband Mike Mesikep, photographer, and they have been creating this annual event for thirteen years. It is quite spectacular and includes 42 separate dances. It has over the years grown into a community event with many sponsors and volunteers ... because practically every little girl in the valley is involved with "Miss Maggie".
While Mike shoots the girls most of the year, he is the technical director for the LODGCS and just can't shoot, too. So he has a volunteer staff of professional photographers who are also parents of dancers. Due to a tragic accident this year Mike's primary assistant photographer was unable to shoot ... her daughter, Liz Juarez, a student and dancer, left us for the Lord. As a result, Ashley Hopkins (Child and Pregnancy photographer) and I volunteered to photograph Center Stage 2007.
The series of images in this thread were shot with a 5D and 15mm fisheye lens mounted on a Magic Arm approximately 25 feet above the stage and fired remotely.
I have rambled enough so here are my "Eye in the Sky" images:
#1 The ballet girls warming up under the direction of Guest Artist Scott Pascal.
#3 This dance, "MVPs", choreographed by Jessica Ruiz, was a basketball tribute. I am the only person sitting in an aisle, in the left of two aisles between the VOMs, on about the fourth step from the bottom with a light colored baseball cap and as always, in shorts with white socks.
#4 As a lark I tried shooting "between" a couple of the dances to see what I would get ... this is about a five second time exposure:
#5 This dance, title "Reaching", was a tribute and was danced "In Loving Memory of Liz Juarez." Choreographed by Jenny Giauque-Tingey, re-staged by Maggie Mesikep with music by Carolyn Arends. When I first watched this dance during dress rehearsal I had no idea what it was about yet I was moved to tears ... it was masterfully created and heart rendingly executed.
#6 I was fiddling again with shooting between dances and managed to catch these dancers moving onto the stage to perform "Chutes and Ladders" choreographed by Jessica Ruiz with music by Ok Go.
#7 Here is the final image in this series, the Final Bow, with dancers on stage and more moving in from the Voms to take the stage.
I shot 2700+ frames of the dancers. I hope to share more images taken from stage level but have to secure permission before publishing any images of the minor dancers ... although they were photographed by at least fifty amateurs, three professionals and professionally videotaped! We'll see when Maggie and Mike have recovered from the event itself!
EXIF and IPTC data is intact in all images. Don't hesitate to ask questions or make surly comments!