Harbourfront's World Stage

The "enfant terrible" of Canada’s dance scene, Dave St-Pierre, brings his groundbreaking dance creation, LA PORNOGRAPHIE DES ÂMES (BARE NAKED SOULS) to World Stage at the Fleck Dance Theatre this week until Saturday.
In a series of fierce, corrosive scenes, a group of dancers rush headlong through a waltz in 26 movements, mixing all kinds of musical genres into one dance spectacle.
St-Pierre describes the work as a "hymn to mankind, a celebration of his beauty and ugliness, his depth and superficiality."

It’s beginning to feel like it’s ‘all nude, all the time’ for this year’s World Stage. First Daniel Levaille’s company gets their kit off, then solo artist Kitt Johnson, now Dave St.Pierre's company of a dozen or so dancers.

World Stage used to be strictly a theatre festival. In recent years it morphed into a theatre/dance hybrid. I was wondering if it had changed again as all the performances so far have been dance.

But I was assured by a Harbourfront spokesperson that there is lot’s of theatre coming in the new year.
The preponderance of dance in the front end of the schedule is a combination of the artists touring schedules dictating the dates, and Harbourfront’s celebration of Quebec culture as part of Quebec City’s anniversary year.

This was a difficult shoot.
During the rehearsal for this section (the dressed rehearsal) the lighting was very even and focus was easily achieved.
But when the dancers got into costume (nude), the lighting for the show was used which consisted of a bank of very bright lights from behind rim-lighting the performers, and strobing frontal light accompanying a driving speed metal rock score.
The lighting ratio between the two key light sources easily outstripped the dynamic range of digital sensors.
And it was very difficult to get a focus lock with auto focus, not enough light to be reasonably sure of focusing manually.

Really it depended on luck whether the frontal lighting would be on the subject during the millisecond of exposure or not.
Not and you get a silhouette – against a black background. Kind of like the black cat in a coal mine.

But for the few frames when the lighting co-operated there were some dynamic photos. However with five frontally nude dancers, three female and two male, this is one of the few frames where all the naughty bits are covered to just squeak under the bar for nude depiction on Torontowide.

It’s the second bare naked dance shoot I’ve done in the last month.
Interesting how ordinary the lack of clothing becomes in only a short time. Five minutes into the rehearsal and you’re hardly aware of it anymore.
Photographing dancers this way really conveys the body’s musculature, and the contortions these artists force themselves through.
As a live spectator I’m not sure it adds too much to the experience, but as a photographer I wish I could do shoots like this again as some frames are just beautiful - only under more controlled lighting conditions next time.

Olympus E3 w/ 12-60mm 2.8 @ 1600 ISO minus one stop.

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