Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dancers Among Us to be Released in Bookstores Ahead of Schedule

In a recent blog, "I've Been Keeping Secrets... Lots of Them", I revealed that I've held back many Dancers Among Us images for the book's publication. Well, it appears that these secret new images have excited the folks at Workman Publishing so much that they've moved up the publication date. Originally scheduled to be released in the spring of 2013, Dancers Among Us will now hit bookstores in the fall of 2012, just in time for the holidays! Given that it is such a coveted slot, it's highly unusual for a title to be added to the fall list at this late date. I'm honored! And very excited! And just a bit overwhelmed...

My deadline has been pushed up four months! So it's seriously crunch time. I have to finish shooting all the photographs, and write lots of text, in just eight weeks!! So this is my final call to all dancers who want to participate-

Dancers- if you want to be featured in this year's best-selling, record-shattering, award-winning holiday book, contact me NOW at! If you live in or near Los Angeles and you want to participate, I will be there next week. Otherwise, I will primarily be in New York City. I don't know how many other cities I will have the opportunity to visit.

I'm very excited to offer Dancers Among Us in print for the holidays this year. Please keep an eye out on my website,, for regular updates.

Thank you for all your encouragement and support. I'll see you soon at a book signing near you!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Twyla Tharp, I Want YOU for Dancers Among Us

Emboldened by my successful blog to Bebe Neuwirth, and the photo shoot that followed, I'm taking another swing for the fences.

Ms. Tharp, allow me to introduce myself. I'm a NYC photographer, and I've been shooting dancers in everyday situations for over two years. The project is titled, "Dancers Among Us". It has been viewed millions of times on my website, and featured in blogs, newspapers, magazines and television segments around the world. I'm traveling the country photographing dancers for the book, with my eye on a 2013 national book release with Workman Publishing.

I would be extremely honored if you would allow me to photograph you for the Dancers Among Us book. Your legendary status in the dance world and beyond, along with your creative brilliance, would make you a thrilling collaborator.

I've crossed your path many times as I've worked on this project. It all began with one of your early companies, the Paul Taylor Dance Company-

As the project expanded and I traveled around the country, your footprints were everywhere-

It all came full circle when I was hired to shoot the PTDC "Moving!" to Lincoln Center 2012 campaign, which caused me to jump for joy!

photo by Samantha Siegel

If you'd like to see the Dancers Among Us gallery, watch behind-the-scenes videos and read press clippings, please visit the project's website-

I have a couple of months until I need to submit all my photos to Workman. If you live in New York City, I am at your beck and call. If you live in Los Angeles, I will be there March 26-29. If you live anywhere else, I'll be on the next plane to meet you. Please email me at if you're interested.

Since my son inspired this project, a percentage of the proceeds I receive will be donated to a children's charity. That's a blatant attempt to pull at your heartstrings, but it also happens to be true.

Thank you, Ms. Tharp. I hope to meet you soon.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Your Favorite "Renegade Dance Photographer" Featured on Huffington Post

The Paul Taylor Dance Company opens their season at Lincoln Center tonight. The Huffington Post is running a terrific article about the PTDC "Moving!" campaign I shot, including interviews with the dancers about the experience. I never heard their impressions of the shoot. Very exciting!

Here's an excerpt:

A cool advertising campaign, shot by renegade dance photographer Jordan Matter, captures the dancers' ballsy uptown foray. Eight of the PTDC's 16 dancers chatted with HuffPost Arts about the photo shoot, and why the move matters.

"Don’t we love the illusion of photography, that trick of the eye? I am jumping up. It’s not Photoshopped.

"They hailed the taxi, they paid the driver to park a few minutes. We set up a trampoline, mostly because it was concrete. We did that a bunch of times, to get the angle so it would look like my foot was coming out of the car.

"We were right in the middle of Lincoln Center, in the street. It was really exhilarating to be out in the public, on a public plaza, with everyday people going by.

"It’s difficult to capture the essence of the dynamic energy, the flight, of Paul Taylor’s sense of movement -- and Jordan was able to capture it.

"Knowing the history of the dance that has been presented at Lincoln Center, to be a part of that history, and to become part of the legacy that is that theater is a huge opportunity for the company."

-- Michael Trusnovec, with Paul Taylor Dance Company in 1998, now its most senior member

“Yeah, it was really fun. They wanted to have a shot with someone, in white, jumping over that sign. I was excited because I knew I had this great white dress from the duet that concludes "White Roses."

“It was high traffic area and he wanted me to do it over and over and over and get right over the sign. Usually [Jordan] doesn’t use trampolines, [but] it’s an intense rehearsal period and I didn’t want to get injured, so we used the trampoline. And it saved my life, probably.

“It’s kind of scary, it wasn’t that big of a a trampoline, and you have to line up over it. I’m used to doing a jeté and getting the line I want on it. But when you’re moving forward to get that line, versus, when you are jumping up, it’s a different coordination. The front arm, in a slight 'vee' up, is a Taylor arm.”

-- Eran Bugge, with PTDC since 2005

"It was very impromptu. It had just finished a torrential downpour of rain, it was 8:30 at night. It hadn’t rained the whole summer, and we were shooting, and it was still raining. They said to me, ‘Are you ready? Let’s do it. Go put some tights on.’

“I put on red tights, came down out of the Koch Theater, and he [Jordan Matter, photographer] decided to put me in front of the fountain. ‘Do whatever,’ were my instructions, ‘Just be in the rain.’ He didn’t have anything particular in mind. I started jumping, it was raining on me. It was really incredible. You know you are in an epic shot, the lighting design of Lincoln Center is so magnificent, we were trying to time the jump so when I was in the air, the fountain was shooting up, so there would be up and down.

"You can’t really tell that it’s raining [in the photo], it just looks like I’m shiny. I have never felt such a rush in a photo shoot before, dancing with the elements, and there’s a huge crowd watching this crazy person jumping up and down in the rain."

-- Francisco Graciano, joined the company in 2004

To see more photos and the full article on the Huffington Post website, click here.

To my favorite dancers in the world- Merde tonight! (for those who don't know, that's "Good Luck" in dance speak)

Monday, March 12, 2012

"So You Think You Can Dancers Among Us?"

I've had the great fortune to photograph several So You Think You Can Dance finalists for Dancers Among Us. Now that I'm headed to its hometown of Los Angeles in two weeks, I'm hungry for more!

In January 2010 I paired SYTYCD finalist Ellenore Scott with Alvin Ailey principle dancer Michael McBride. We spent a freezing day traversing NYC, having all kinds of adventures. I documented our hi-jinx in my most popular blog to date, "New Dancers Among Us: Getting Kicked Out of the Plaza Hotel...".

The next month I met up with the very popular SYTYCD star AdéChiké Torbert on Wall Street. Once again, it was freezing. And once again, I had an absolute blast! This adventure was documented in another well-read blog (am I noticing a pattern?), "Government Bailout of Wall Street, Dancers Among Us Style".

Even better, Caleb Custer and Design Brooklyn put together a terrific video of the Wall Street shoot that reveals Ade's truly magnetic force.

One year later I documented my final amazing SYTYCD experience in the blog, "Mega-Star Alex Wong Trashes Dancers Among Us".

So here's my challenge to all SYTYCD dancers in Los Angeles: I'll be in town from March 26-29. I've photographed three of your rivals. You had a chance to take them on for television, but here's an even greater prize- take them on for Dancers Among Us! Contact me on my super-secret personal email:

Ellenore, Ade and Alex: I'd love to have you to take another shot as well. Let's discover the greatest So You Think You Can Dancer Among Us. I hope those competitive juices are still flowing!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

How I Got My Hands on a Coveted Prize

A couple of years ago my wife casually mentioned that Dan Havlik, America's #1 photo tech reviewer for the popular PDN Magazine, lived next to my studio. I introduced myself and bought him lunch. I wanted to pepper him with photo equipment questions, which I did endlessly. As we were leaving, I brought up a new project I was working on, "Dancers Among Us".

Soon after our lunch, PDN chose this "Dancers Among Us" image for their prestigious Photo of the Day-

My world changed. Within two days I was on NBC, which led to features in magazines around the world, which eventually led to my book deal with Workman Publishing - and, I'm certain, at least 5,000,000,000 book sales and a reality show in 2013.

However, that's not the only benefit to my relationship with Dan. I also get to test the newest Nikon equipment, and last week was the biggest prize of all- the highly anticipated Nikon D4. Of course, it only made sense to shoot "Dancers Among Us" images on my first day with this exceptional camera.

I spontaneously contacted three dancers- Dario Vaccaro, Sarah Sadie Newett and Orlando Martinez. We met on a rainy Saturday in Grand Central Station. This image of two lovers saying goodbye had to happen extremely quickly, before security arrived (which they did)-

Then I took Dario outside to lie on the ground in the rain. We had just ten minutes before Dario had to leave for rehearsal, yet we got an image that Workman made me promise to keep secret until the book's release.

Finally, with just a few minutes left, Orlando showed off an amazing hinge.

Once I saw this terrific pose, I had to incorporate it into a "Dancers Among Us" scenario about a man being stood up on a date.

The next day I took full advantage of the D4 while shooting actors Carmen Cabrera and Mark Alhadeff. Believe it or not, the new Nikon actually has a youth and beauty setting- they were ninety years old before I adjusted the camera!

Take a look at Dan's feature on or by clicking here, to see more of my test photos including Dancers Among Us and headshots, along with the technical info for each image. If you want to learn how to make a mean margarita, check out the video I shot at the end of the feature. I think Steve The Bartender will be an internet sensation one day.

Thanks again, Dan!