Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dancers Among Us Plays With Fire (and Bubbles)

In Atlanta I went down to the hippie throwback neighborhood, Little Five Points, looking for a location for Dancers Among Us. It was dusk and I had two ballerinas who looked like they stepped right out of a Janis Joplin song- Claire Stallman with Atlanta Ballet and Amanda Farris with The Georgia Ballet.

I was immediately drawn to a store called Serpentine Exotic Pets. I had grand visions of Amanda dancing with a twelve-foot python, but we soon discovered that the store was actually part of a movie set. The latest Ben Stiller film was also looking for a 1970’s vibe, so they decided to “enhance” the already authentic storefronts.

If it’s good enough for Ben Stiller…

Amanda is a fantastic jumper, so I wanted her leaping towards the dramatic red light in the doorway.

She looked kind of lonely there. She needed a friend, but I wanted to save Claire for another photo. As I usually do in these situations, I relied on serendipity to provide me with just the right person.

I looked around. Nobody. The place was dead. Hurry up Serendipity, I’m losing my light.

I took a few more photos, looked behind me again, and this is what I saw-

It’s just completely bizarre how this always seems to happen to me.

I must have been a monk in a former life.

Carlee agreed to join the photo.

Nice, but the shot didn’t really make sense. Why was Amanda jumping? I was stumped. The light was going fast.

Carlee reached into her pocket. “I have bubbles.”

I was a monk who saved a busload of drowning schoolchildren...

Fun! I loved the concept, but there was still something missing. They looked a little isolated out there. It should be more like a party.

“Do you mind if my friends join in the photo too?” Carlee asked.

… and the schoolchildren all had puppies and kittens with them.

Perfect! That’s a wrap. Let’s move on. There’s nothing else here.

“Have you ever photographed fire throwing?”

We stopped in our tracks. Carlee’s friend Mick was offering his skills for another photo. It sounded intriguing, but I had no idea what he was talking about. He gave us a demonstration.

How do I say no to that? This was becoming a very memorable evening. I looked for a new location. Around the corner I found a store called Fearless Weirdos.


I asked Claire to put on her pointe shoes and a colorful dress and to strike a pose that suggested she was stopped in her tracks. We put everyone into the background, and Mick started throwing fire.

After we got the shot, Claire tried her hand at fire throwing en pointe! Take a look at this video by Will Day to see how she did.

Thank you yet again, Serendipity.