Huffpost Arts
Christopher Duggan Headshot

Photographing the Joffrey Ballet

Posted: Updated:

2012-09-04-images-20120822_JoffreyBallet_Christopher.Duggan_169.jpg

Derrick Agnoletti of the Joffrey Ballet in Son of Chamber Symphony; photo Christopher Duggan, courtesy Jacob's Pillow Dance.

Last week marked the end of Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival's 80th Anniversary, and I found myself scrambling from one dress rehearsal to the other trying to squeeze in documentation of both main stage performances. I was so excited/nostalgic about the fact that this is the last week of the summer, and I wanted to capture it all.

2012-09-04-images-20120822_JoffreyBallet_Christopher.Duggan_252.jpg

Victoria Jaiani and Miguel Angel Blanco of the Joffrey Ballet in Son of Chamber Symphony; photo Christopher Duggan, courtesy Jacob's Pillow Dance.

I loved the Joffrey Ballet's program. They danced "Bells" by former Bolshoi Ballet dancer and San Francisco Ballet choreographer Yuri Possokhov, "Age of Innocence" by Edwaard Liang, and "Son of Chamber Symphony", a world premiere by Stanton Welch. It's always exciting to photograph a world premiere. My photos will be the first ones showcasing the new dance, and it makes me nervous and psyched.

2012-09-04-images-20120822_JoffreyBallet_Christopher.Duggan_224.jpg

Victoria Jaiani and Miguel Angel Blanco of the Joffrey Ballet in Son of Chamber Symphony; photo Christopher Duggan, courtesy Jacob's Pillow Dance.

This idea is amplified at Jacob's Pillow, where world-renowned companies perform on a world stage. It's a big deal to premiere work at the Pillow. All eyes are here. I knew the company wanted approval of the images before they were given to the press, so I wanted to be sure I delivered both quality and quantity. I made a larger number of photographs than I typically do at dress rehearsal, and prepared and edited the photos for use within hours. It's a lot of pressure to photograph for press use, but it's something I've grown used to in the fast-paced world of performance documentation.

I had a great time with the Joffrey. The dancers were so talented, and the tutus in Stanton Welch's new work were exquisite and especially fun to photograph.

2012-09-04-images-20120822_JoffreyBallet_Christopher.Duggan_159.jpg

Yumelia Garcia and Matthew Adamczyk of the Joffrey Ballet in Son of Chamber Symphony; photo 2012 Christopher Duggan, courtesy Jacob's Pillow Dance.

Please visit my blog if you'd like to see more from this year's festival. I post photos from Jacob's Pillow each Friday, and I'm doing a few special projects in the coming weeks that I'd love to share.

This article first appeared on 4dancers.org