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Ailey Trio in Three Extracts


I am always bugged by the differences in seeing that I witness between photographers of dance and all other photographers.

I have a two part saying:
"You can't shoot what you can't see, and you can't see what you don't know."

In the case of almost all photographers they see editing in the examples below. The reactions I get are normally about great "motion matching." On the other hand, dancers see dance, which was my intention and was specifically what I am highlighting with the edit. Just pointing a camera at dance doesn't make it dance photography unless you can see dance yourself and can use that knowledge to record dance in the camera. This is not motion matching. This is simply editing to the music because the dancers themselves are matching their own actions to the music.

In the examples below I am showing how tightly the dancers are able to adhere to a set choreography between dancers, performances, venues and audiences and still make their dancing look as natural as if they were freestyling. The Ailey dancers never let down. No matter what. They are always on and always perfecting, regardless of how perfect their last rehearsal or performance was.

Because the music was pre-recorded, rather than live, I was able to use the music to synchronize the video tracks between performances, then merely cut from one performance to another.

I prepared these three edits from a January 2013 set of performances by the Ailey Trio in Kansas City, brought in by Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey. There are three different situations, each with increasing complexity and fun.
   1 - two soloists matching each other in two separate performances
   2 - all three dancers in three performances matching themselves
   3 - two performances including members of the audience who have practiced nothing but will dance with the pros who keep everything together and on time.




Grace (extract # 1 of 3)

by Ron Brown

Comparing 2 solos between 2 dancers in 2 locations

Video by Mike Strong - 2 min 55 sec

HMTL Link:

Editing between two solo performances by two different dancers to show the tightness of the two dancers, each in the same solo, in following the choreographer and still looking fresh and natural. You could easily think they were free styling.




Grace (extract #2 of 3)

by Ron Brown

Video by Mike Strong - 4 min

HTML link:

Editing between three performances with three audiences and three different spaces and floors to show the tightness of the dancers in following the choreographer and still looking fresh and natural.




Minus 16 (extract #3 of 3)

by Ohad Naharin

Video by Mike Strong - 3 min 37 sec

HMTL Link:

Editing between two performances and two spaces in two different venues to show the tightness of the dancers in following the choreographer and still looking fresh and natural even though, in this one, they go out into the audience and pull people up on stage to dance with them who have no idea of the choreography. Great fun and terrific dancers who can pull this off and remain within the choreography across the locations.