We stopped by many places during this tour, and they all had a unique vibe and feel. It wasn’t my first time in Spain. I visited Barcelona, Sevilla and mostly the south coast of the country a few years back but, surprisingly, it was my first time in Madrid.
I am not going to lie. When we prepared our trip, I had a hard time finding performers for my “InMotion” series. I am not yet very well-known and, although a few know my name now in the dance community, it is still a tedious and unpleasant task to go through.
Madrid was my biggest chance to make a few pictures in a Spanish setting. There are a few dance companies with international performers. We got the word out and waited in hopes that a couple of dancers would be available during our stay.
The first days after our arrival we just enjoyed what the city had to offer. It’s sometimes fun being a tourist. While we were having fun, we were far from expecting what was about to happen… a dramatic change in the weather.
Four dancers answered our call: Samantha Vottari, Ksenia Abbazova, Kayoko Everhart and Pauline Perraut. We all prayed for a somehow fair weather because, at no point, a cancellation was an option.
We were supposed to meet Samantha first, but the elements were not ok with that. We met at Plaza de España and ended up in a coffee house nearby for a chat. An opportunity to get to know her better and fortunately we were able to reschedule for later that week.
So, it all officially started with Ksenia and the idea was to make a few shots around the Royal Palace of Madrid. No authorizations were asked, thousands of tourists take selfies there, so what? It is just a fancier dance selfie shoot, right? Although the weather wasn’t the best, we managed to make a few epic shots with this wonderful lady! A fun morning, with tourists gathering around from time to time, but we are all used to that.
We finally got to meet Sam on a somehow brighter day… Not really! At least it wasn’t pouring rain. A dull sky and a flat light, we had no choice but to use artificial light to give a bit more depth and drama to the pictures (I love drama ha, ha). Samantha was fantastic, and I love the results although the conditions weren’t ideal. The only benefit of shooting that day was the absence of tourists, making it easy for us to take wide shots without having any unwanted guests.
For our third rendezvous, we had the pleasure to meet principal dancer Kayoko Everhart. One common thing when working in a city you do not know is giving inaccurate info for the place to meet. I really thought I was precise in my description, but now I realize how random it was. After over 30 minutes, trying to figure out where we were, we finally got to meet. I was afraid that this incident would kill the mood, but we figured out a way to make some of the best pictures of the tour. She is amazing and very professional, I know I can be a total pain the A** when I don’t have the right leg, arm, head, toe, dress placement… So yes, sometimes we have to do the same movement a thousand times! I am kidding, maybe not a thousand but a lot and she made each jump like it was the first time.
Last but not least, the beautiful Pauline Perraut was our last dancer… I rarely have that many ballet dancers in front of my camera in such a short amount of time. We didn’t get to do much with Pauline, because the weather again was erratic. I had one shot I absolutely wanted to make after a google maps search, the only problem was that it is one of the most touristic places in the city. Our options were limited so I had to make a decision and use an unusual technique to clean my scene. I simply shot multiple plates to erase all tourists in the shot! Pauline was wonderful, and it felt good speaking French again that afternoon. The session prematurely stopped when it started to rain!
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to shoot a behind the scenes video of this fantastic experience. I really hope we will be able to go back there to shoot other dance styles… Flamenco anyone? Madrid, see you soon!