Dance Study: Chelsea Simone


Dancer: Chelsea Simone (One Member of 4June)
Assisted by: Kitanya Forrester & Ed Peralta

Dance is the key to my soul. Ask me to do some improv on any given day and something about it will be slightly different depending on how I’m feeling that day. It’s also my therapy to cure me of any negativity I could be holding.

-Chelsea Simone

It’s actually incredible how this Dance Study has been opening up opportunities to meet with (and photograph) new dancers because of the results of my previous sessions. After photographing Bethany Lange in a previous session, and posting one of her favorite images on Facebook, little did I know that I would be photographing one of the young ladies that commented on her picture. But this opportunity may not have happened if I did not reach out to her via Facebook Messenger. For me, that task put me completely out of my comfort zone. Normally I’d resort to get someone I know to approach and ask on my behalf; but this time was different. I figured the worst case scenario was she’d say no or not respond to my message. If that was the worst I could think up, it was worth trying to get in contact with her, and a few minutes later, she responded. *the heavens rejoice*

Chelsea Simone, one of the members of a dance group called 4June, chatted with me during that day and a Dance Study Session was the end result of the conversation. Upon hearing that she could do ballet “en pointe”, I was excited to she what she could offer to the study; also excited because I wanted to know what dance outfits were at her disposal. This was the first session in some time in which movement was involved. And let me tell you, it is still new territory. I’m realizing that dancers have different ways in which they get themselves into motion, which means if dancer A does one thing I can not expect dancer B to do the same. It’s almost like I have to study the dancers for a while to know what their natural rhythm is and use that as a guide to know when to snap the shot. Also, I am realizing that conversation is key, Chelsea would always let me know what was happening before a jump would occur. Sometimes I’m bad at conversing during a session, either because I’m so wrapped up in the session or because I’m shy (or afraid to talk); but I’m realizing that the conversations can be helpful to my subject. It could ease their nerves, give them critical feedback to make the image better, or just to let them know I’m still here, lol. But it’s something I hope to work on.

After the session I had questions for Chelsea about dance, hopefully the answers I can place into my book that I’ve started for these studies and pull apart the answers and form my new questions. I asked her this:

Me: Without passion/desire, can dance still come across as a beautiful art form?

Chelsea: Of course not! 70% of what makes dance so beautiful is the passion and dedication one has for it.

Me: Then what would you say makes up the other 30%?

Chelsea: Technique, Strength, and Flexibility.

Needless to say I will now be looking up the words passion and dedication on my Dictionary app and adding those words to my book. And now it makes me want to attempt a session in which the dancer is playing around with both form & grace in the absence of passion. I wonder if that is even possible. It’s worth a shot I suppose.

But enough of my thoughts, here then are images from Chelsea’s dance study “avec moi” (with me), and I hope that you enjoy the images. Till the next study.

[JRP ’13]