Dress Rehearsal

My niece is a talented dancer, studying ballet at the Potomac Dance Center in Potomac, Maryland. They produce a marvelous recital each May. Photography is not permitted during the performance, but it is allowed at the dress rehearsal. My family asked me to photograph my niece, which I did gladly, and I took the opportunity to photograph during the warmup, the numbers, and whatever scenes I could see in the wings from the front of the auditorium.

I knew I’d be shooting in very low light, so I brought my 5D Mark II and shot at ISO 3200 with my 70-200 mm lens at f/2.8. I stabilized my camera with a monopod, which gave me a good balance of stability and agility to move around.

Shooting a performance like this is challenging. The rehearsal was more than four hours long, and a large part of the front of the stage was off limits because they were videotaping the dancers. I worked from one general area on stage left. Not knowing what to expect, I shot nearly 900 photos of everything from individual dancers to large ensembles. Many photos were blurry because the dancers moved faster than my shutter speed in the low light. Anticipating this, I shot many bursts of photos so at least one image per burst would be in focus, and this made editing the photos a chore.


3 thoughts on “Dress Rehearsal

  1. My absolute favorite is the 3rd up from the bottom. Stunning. Something about that picture just stops me. Beautiful pictures.

  2. Thanks! I’m particularly proud of this one. All of my photography at this rehearsal was unplanned, as I hadn’t seen any of the performances before. Proving that photography is some part luck, I caught the dancer in mid-air perfectly framed by the curtains above her with something interesting but not distracting in the background.

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