These are some images I took a long time ago, but I had forgotten to edit and release them.
I can’t believe how many times this happens: I go out on a photoshoot (unpaid), come back home, save and backup all RAW files, and forgetting about editing them to release the JPEG versions. I was doing some cleanup the other day and I stumbled upon several folders of RAW images waiting to be edited and see the light of day.
Sometimes shooting in RAW and all the extra work that involves is tiresome. But I can’t get myself to shoot straight JPEGs because of the opportunities I miss from editing and getting more from those images.
This set is about a special Saturday morning ballet class at the Mexican Dance Academy (Academia de la Danza Mexicana) the oldest dance school in Mexico’s history. The ballerina students were preparing for a national showcase of schools and they asked their teacher Ada to give them a special training class prior to the event. I admire dance students. They are so different from “normal” students who would never ask a teacher to give a class on a weekend.
I remember this photoshoot to be a challenging one. That day my wider zoom lens was in the shop (I had dropped it and some parts broke) so all I had was my 50mm 1.8F lens. Considering that the D7000 is a half-frame camera, that 50mm is really about a 75 or 80mm lens. Using that indoors, even in a dance room, is difficult enough. Add to that the fact that there’s mirrors everywhere and I didn’t want to show up in the background of every photo. Anyways, challenges are good and I learned a lot about positioning to frame the shot with mirrors and very active subjects.
The Dance department of the UNAM for the second year in a row invited dancers from all over the country to celebrate an event called “UNAM En Movimiento”. It was a week long event with special classes, one of them by the Cuban ballet maitre Ramona De Saá (detailed info about her here if you read Spanish).
Followed by a an event where many dance schools showcase their best dancers.
The nice and interesting thing about this event is that it is not exclusively of one or two types of dance, like typical “cultural” event where only classic ballet and contemporary dance are showcased. This event had every kind of dance that a school proposed. From classical ballet to salsa, flamenco and even break dance.
After the show, there was a closing celebration party, where dancers still showed off their talents in an improvised breakdance battle and ending up in a nice big party.
A few months ago I attended the open ballet class of cuban teacher Chery, a legend in the cuban school of ballet. It was interesting to watch her way of teaching and correcting students.
Also I admire her passion and energy of still touring the world to give lectures and workshops at her age. I don’t know exactly her age, but if sometimes I get tired of travelling I can imagine her passion to keep doing it. She later told me she was going to other places in Mexico, then south america before going back home. I guess doing what you love, following your dreams and passion will take you to far places and keep you going even at an old age… and let’s not forget the government regulations regarding travel. She’s an example that your passion and hard work can overcome any obstacles.
She’s also writing a book about ballet, a mixture of historic references about the cuban school and teaching tool. She told me she hasn’t had the time to publish it but she’s done with the writing part. I hope she finds that time and publishes that material soon.
Photographing dance is a tough task. Specially when it is an indoor low budget theatre with poor lighting setup. In these situations, you push your gear to the limit, not because you set the gear to the its maximum settings but because you need to explore the limits between capturing the moment and haivng a technically “good shot”.
The high noise in these images are because of my high ISO I needed to use. I’ve come to the conclusion of sacrificing image quality for capturing the right moments. And if you enjoy these images, I hope I’m not wrong.
These are some shots I took at the theatre rehearsals. Because of schedule conflicts I couldn’t shoot the main events, but I enjoy the rehearsals more because I get a better insight and feeling of the complexities and hard work that is put into these events.
Everyone involved, from the dancers and the musicians to the technical staff, makeup artists and most of all, the teachers and choreographers put a lot of effort for ballet to seem like an effortless dance with magic and princesses and where all is fine and beautiful.
Yes, there is a lot of “magic” and beauty, but also a lot of hard work and effort. In these images I hope I could capture both, the beauty and the hard work by everyone involved for you to have a glipse at what is is to be in the dance profession.
I’ve been sitting on these images for way too long. I took them on November 2013 and I didn’t want to continue publishing more material without sharing these first.
For me, seeing these images again after many months and remembering how I also struggled to capture them, I realize that in this business everyone involved, even the by-stander-photographer pushes themselves to the limit to deliver their art.
Let me know what you think, and if you feel identified with this story, I’d like to hear your stories of art delivering hard work in the comments.
The UNAM has a dance division, that is not exaclty a school for professional dancers, but promotes events, creates workshops, connects dancers and provides spaces for their works.
To celebrate their 10 year anniversary, they organized a mass dance event open to the public. It took place outside the MUAC museum and it had one massive stage, but four fronts. Each front was leaded by a different kind of dance coach. Jazz/Pop, Hip-hop, Salsa and Cumbia were the different dances that everyone performed that day.
A lot of people attended not only to watch but to participate in the activities. And by most of them I mean from the young to the old people.
I remember this one old lady trying to follow the hip-hop teacher’s steps. She even tried to lay down in the ground to do a split! It was good to see enthusiastic people that no matter their age, they still keep moving. I know people that in their late 20s or early 30s feel like old cripples.
Here’s the old lady attempting to sit in the floor to do the step like everyone else
Back in September I took some photos of this very creative outdoor theatre and dance at the UNAM. People were walking around the green areas and fountains of the University campus, and suddenly musicians and dancers start their act among them.
They gathered the crowd to the stairs of one of the theatres and they presented three numbers there. It was an interesting art proposal and very entertaining.
I was there because I knew this was going to happen, since my girlfriend was part of the project and she invited me to witness it, as she had talked to me about it and also another friend of mine, Jose Serralde, participated as the music director.
That day I had my zoom lens in the shop for repairs, so I had to manage how to shoot dancers on stage with a 50mm fixed lens. It turned out quite well I think, and I love the sharpness of my Nikon 50mm 1.8D, but it was not easy, since I’m using an APS-C sensor, so that 50mm lens is like an 85mm lens. Getting the dancers in frame and the crowd out of it was the hard part.
Select sort is a very simple algorithm but it’s very inefficient for large lists, but it is good when memory is an issue, since it is an in-place sorting algorithm. Meaning it is an algorithm that doesn’t need to use extra memory to store sorted from unsorted elements.
The way it works is the following: Take the fist element in the list and compare with the next elements to find the minimum value of the list. If found swap values. Repeat starting with second element and so on until reaching the last element in the list.
for each current_element in the list:
assume_minimum = current_element
for each element in the list:
if assume_minimum > element[value]
assume_minimum = element[value]
swap current element with assume_minimum values
""" Performs a select sort on list """
for i in range(0,len(a_list)-1):
min_position = i
for j in range(i+1,len(a_list)):
if a_list[min_position] > a_list[j]:
min_position = j
a_list[i], a_list[min_position] = a_list[min_position], a_list[i]