Usually I am faced with the same recurring two choices in my day to day life: dance or shoot photos? As you may already know, my default choice usually is to dance. It doesn’t really matter what situation it is to be perfectly honest. Walk by a great live band? Start dancing. Hear an awesome song at HMV? Swing outs. Being asked a question you do not have an answer for? Solo charleston. Awkward pause in the conversation? Flail arms wildly (aka wackin’).
The past year or so have seen the slight pause of my decision making process to ask myself if this would be a pristine opportunity to get some shooting time in. This decision is actually a lot easier to make because more often than not, I forget to commission my slaves to carry my behemoth of a camera to actually take a picture. Fifty percent of the time that I think I should probably take out my camera, I don’t actually have it with me (bad photographer I know) so that only leaves the other half with the possibility of actually doing something about it.
Now that I’m living in Montréal however, a surprisingly THIRD choice has sprung up – chill the eff out and enjoy myself. Maybe it’s the culture here rubbing off on me but I’ve been less inclined to flail around or be that guy sticking a huge lens in front of your face in Montréal. Don’t get me wrong, I still do those two things all the time, but having a third option has been… liberating?
Good thing I still have my iPhone though.
Shooting dancers is a heck-a-luva lot easier than non dancers – they already know how to have fun and enjoy themselves. I shot famous Toronto lindy hoppers Dan and Stephanie a month or so back at the old Distillery District in Toronto on a “cloudy with a chance of rain” afternoon. The shoot was to commemorate their engagement and total lunacy for each other. I’m not going to lie, I get squeamish with P.D.A. but not this kind. It’s like their in a movie or something.
Even though summer is already half way done, I’m still on a mission to grab a beer with all my Ontario friends by cajoling you all to come to Montréal. Of course this mission is a bit self-serving (I like beer, I like wine..) but I believe you would enjoy yourself once you get here. I know my food baby loves Montréal (I’m definitely on my second trimester).
Here’s an easy and quick guide on how to get to the land of the French using public transportation. Read More…
Blues dance. I always enjoy watching eyebrows raise as I mention that I dance Blues. Most do it in wonderment or realization that yes Blues music can be danced to, but then blank out when they try to picture it.
Blues music is one of those genres of music that has been around so long and through so many different eras that it’s so ingrained to our music culture that we forget about it. In my opinion, everyone loves Blues music in one form or another. I, along with a larger community, actively go out and express my love for it through dance.
Why I dance to it or why I love it is a question that is tough to answer, not for myself, but also for many other dancers. We just feel the need for it. IMHO, great blues music is full of soul and is raw in its form. There is pain, sorrow and suffering, yet at the same time there is life and hope. It’s the same for me when I dance. Dance is an expression of emotions done in the rhythm and feeling of the music, and that is what separates dancing from moving. Why I dance is a very personal thing for myself, and can only be described or understood best when dancing with me. Maybe that is why I partner dance, so I can share myself and what I feel for the briefest of moments till we part when the music ends and I can share it with the next person who I dance with.
In the last little while, I have felt bombarded with a mess of things to do in the dance scene other than just dance. At some point I will have my chance to do my own Half Year in Review and you’ll see what I have been up to. But, finally, in the last week, I have been able to just pause and breathe for a moment. Usually I am led to one of my favorite summer spots of the year – UBC Robson Square.
Pictured above, Robson Square is one of the main areas for dancing of all kinds to be found here. During the summer months, there’s Friday night Dancing at Robson Square (rotating forms of dances, mainly ballroom) and Sunday Afternoon Salsa. But what keeps on drawing me back is the street dancers who come and practice there every day.
There’s lockin’, poppin’, whackin’, hip hop, b-boys/b-girls, and crews of all kinds that rotate in and out of the area. You’ll find new dancers to some of the best instructors/dancers in the city watching, training, and giving advice to each other. Most of them there, probably because it’s free, open, and perfect for dancing and they are absolutely inspiring to watch. It makes me feel like I should be training as well.
Maybe that’s what I’ll do. Who wants to join me? :)