Lindsey Jones & Melissa Toogood of Pam Tanowitz Dance Company

Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival 2016 | FLEXN & Pam Tanowitz Dance

by | Aug 25, 2016 | Dance

It’s the last week of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival 2016, and as always, I feel privileged to have worked with incredible artists all summer.

By now you all know that I not only photograph the performances of these artists but I also have the opportunity to meet them outside the theater to make creative portraits. This week, I want to show you these experiences side-by-side. What it is to capture a moment in live performance directly next to the breath and ease we find in the Pillow’s natural setting. These two worlds show what a typical week at the Pillow looks like for me and the artists on campus.

Sam I Am (Sam Estavien) of FLEXN

Members of FLEXN

Sam I Am (Sam Estavien) and Shellz (Shelby Felton) of FLEXN

Dayntee (Deidra Braz) of FLEXN

Dayntee (Deidra Braz) & Sam I Am (Sam Estavien) of FLEXN

Banks (James Davis) of FLEXN

Sam I Am (Sam Estavien), Karnage (Quamaine Daniels), & Dayntee (Deidra Braz) of FLEXN

Dayntee (Deidra Braz) of FLEXN

Members of FLEXN

Dayntee (Deidra Braz) of FLEXN

Dayntee (Deidra Braz) & Sam I Am (Sam Estavien)

Tyme (Glendon Charles) of FLEXN

Pam Tanowitz Dance Company and FLEXN were both here to perform in the ninth week of the Festival. I love making performance photos alongside creative portraits of the same dancers in the same week. I get to see the many sides of the artists and how they are on and off the stage. I’m lucky to be able to capture those different states of creativity.

Slicc (Derick Murreld) of FLEXN

FLEXN is a dance company with a mission. Before each FLEXN show, they had a panel discussion with members of the community who deal with the social issues the FLEXN piece reflects. They had government officials like the Pittsfield Mayor and police and social workers and clergy.

Those discussions lead right into the piece and set the audience up and help them gain entry.

The performance itself would have been hard to handle without that introduction and discussion, because the piece is violent, angry and has very powerful and emotional weight. People really responded positively to FLEXN’s movement – both how they dance and how they teach and connect and hope to heal through dance. I was there to capture one of many standing ovations at curtain call.

Members of FLEXN during Curtain Call

Sarah Haarmann, Dylan Crossman, &nMelissa Toogood of Pam Tanowitz Dance in “the story progresses as if in a dream of glittering surfaces”

Lindsey Jones & Melissa Toogood

Melissa Toogood & Jason Collins in “the story progresses as if in a dream of glittering surfaces”

Sarah Haarmann & Lindsey Jones of Pam Tanowitz Dance in “the story progresses as if in a dream of glittering surfaces”

Melissa Toogood of Pam Tanowitz Dance

Cast of Pam Tanowitz Dance in “the story progresses as if in a dream of glittering surfaces”

I’ve worked with Pam Tanowitz Dance before, and her work is beautiful. Her choreography has a mathematical, logical feel to it. The music is somewhat abstract. For me, it makes it more challenging to photograph, because the music doesn’t give me any cues into what’s happening next. In order to make photos of Pam’s work, I need to be hyper-tuned in.

Lindsey Jones of Pam Tanowitz Dance

Maggie Cloud of Pam Tanowitz Dance in “the story progresses as if in a dream of glittering surfaces”

I had a great time making creative portraits with these dancers. They were so generous with their time and creativity. My hope is that these portraits tell you something about each artist. I try to be quiet, step back, and allow the process to move on its own, so what you see are the dancers completely natural and in the moment.

My wife Nel and I love being here at the Pillow every summer. And we are excited to get back to our businesses in New York City and work with more incredible dance artists this Fall. If you need any dance video or dance photos, get in touch!

The festival may be over, but I still have some photos I can’t wait to share with you.

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