Thursday, October 4, 2012

I Can't Believe This All Happened in Four Hours! Dancers Among Us Speeds Around Minneapolis

On Tuesday, Workman Publishing sent me to Minneapolis to participate in the Heartland Fall Forum- a gathering of independent bookstores from around the Midwest. It was my first opportunity to address booksellers and discuss my Dancers Among Us book. It was a big opportunity, so of course I holed up in my hotel room all afternoon to prepare my speech.

If you believe that, you haven’t read my blog before! Actually, I embarked on a whirlwind photo adventure with amazing local dancers and photographers.


Our first stop was the venerated independent bookstore Magers & Quinn. They were very gracious when I arrived, even apologizing for not having my book available for purchase yet (it’s not even released until October 23). I took advantage of the rare access by asking dancer Giselle Mejia to risk breaking her neck. She fought through her apprehension (and bruised buttocks) and executed a very difficult pose. It was a fortuitous beginning to the afternoon.

(top photo by Alyssa Kristine)


We headed over to Lake Calhoun a mile away. After all, you can’t shoot in Minnesota without featuring a lake in the background. I quickly realized Amara Barner would have to be IN the lake! Amara stripped down and jumped in-

Fifteen times! Then, as a sailboat floated by, Amara threw her shirt in the air and nailed her pose one final time.


We raced to the famous Stone Arch Bridge, hurrying to beat the clock- I had to give a speech in two hours! When we arrived, the sun was in our faces, making the skyline photo I had anticipated impossible. The dancer would be silhouetted.

We had no shot. Then Giselle said, “It’s really beautiful down there.” I looked over the side of the bridge, and this is what I saw-

Lucas Melsha had running clothes on, and I imagined a Nike poster of a lonely runner sprinting through the wilderness. But could Lucas jump above the railing? He would actually have to jump off the railing, hit his pose high in the air and then land hard without injury. He was so far away that we communicated by cell phone, with me trying to pantomime my notes like a wild man. 

(top photo by Katrina Eudy)


I had thirty minutes and one dancer left. I decided to stick with the athletic theme, so I asked Duncan Shultz to do something really crazy. Who knew stretching could be this scary.

When the sun finally dipped behind the buildings, I got the skyline shot I had been waiting for. Duncan changed pants and made a beautiful adjustment to his pose. When a jogger turned around in mid-stride to gawk, I knew my incredible day of shooting was complete.

I was a happy camper!

 (photo by Alyssa Kristine)

Oh, and the speech went great!