On Thu 3 May, National Dance Company Wales opened the doors to Company class. The public were invited to observe, sketch, record and photograph the ballet or contemporary class on stage, giving a unique glimpse into how NDCWales dancers prepare just hours before a show.
Photographer Katherine Leedale was one of the artists who attended on the day:
“It was a unique opportunity for artists and dance fans - either to take a peek behind the scenes and really admire a fraction of the hard work that goes into those physical and beautiful pieces, or to sketch, photograph, write about or just observe freely without worrying about disturbing fellow audience members or breaking any rules.
As a theatre and arts photographer I'm privileged to see many of these behind the scenes moments while photographing rehearsals or shows; this was different in that I was only photographing for myself and therefore could be a bit more experimental. I played a lot with long exposures, moving myself or keeping the camera static, with what happens when you put the camera out of focus on purpose, and even tried freelensing for the first time (conclusion: the effect is beautiful but when your subjects are also moving it's even more difficult!).
I had time to play with the exposures to balance out tracking the dancers' movements with retaining some detail. The studio becomes like a cinema screen, each cell a fragment of time, movement, energy.
Thank you very much to both companies, the choreographer and most of all to the dancers for the opportunity.
It was also a wonderful sensation to have creativity happening behind you in the stalls as well as in front of you on the stage. The air in the room was almost crackling with it and we all shared gleeful smiles as we left for the sheer pleasure of making something altogether.”
Take a look at the images Katherine captured in the gallery above.
Find out more about our Spectator School events, offering different and unexpected ways to immerse yourself in ideas, debates and practical workshops.
Originally published on Katherine Leedale’s blog.