American National Ballet
In early October 2003 I traveled to Duluth to
photograph the American National Ballet in dress
rehearsal. The company's artistic director, Armando Maldonado, had seen my performance
photography and contacted me several months earlier to inquire whether I was interested.
We agreed on terms, and then on a beautiful October morning I made the 162-mile drive to
Mitchell Auditorium on the grounds of the College of St. Scholastica.
Duluth, this Lake Superior city known for mining, lumbering, and perhaps as much as anything for Bob Dylan, is a small nugget of hilly beauty and severe winters, and the American National Ballet was a wonderful surprise to me. And, of course, I was returning to one of my first joys, photographing dance. Armando Maldonado has created a gem of a small dance company, and he draws talent from across the country. (And note that most choreography is by Mr. Maldonado.)
A technical note: stage lighting is always a challenge. Add to that the rapid action of dance and a photographer has no choice but to push ISO to the highest setting and even occasionally underexpose in order to maintain the 1/250 shutter speed that is bare minimum for dance photography. The result is photos that are often grainy ("noisy" in digital terms). Sometimes that adds something artistically, but in general I've tried to reduce the noise as much as possible in these images. Sometimes I succeed, other times not.
(Update 2007: According to Wikipedia, ANB was forced to close in October 2006 for lack of funding.)