Dance Study: Rachel Watson

| 10 images

Dancer: Rachel Watson
Assisted by: Chante S. Rowe

Well, I think enough time has passed that I can release photos from the second half of the dance session that I did with Rachel. Don’t you agree? After having Rachel do tap I wanted to experiment with an idea that came after a dance session I did with Chante in which she was blindfolded. The idea was instead of taking away Rachel’s eye sight and leaving her to dance in a space that she is unfamiliar with, I would take away her arms by using her long-sleeve shirt as a straitjacket, asking her to dance as if she is trying to escape or break free. I wasn’t sure what dance style would work for this idea, but after explaining the idea to her she thought maybe a jazz/modern/commercial dance combination would work.

Once she was arms were secured and the direction given we went to work. She was doing an awesome job and was able to move around just as well as if she did have her arms available to her; surprisingly, she was able to do a couple of jumps here and there (and thankful not fall). While in the street (and after the rain stopped), I saw this huge puddle in the street and wanted to take advantage of it. It was beautiful to see some of the cobblestone underwater and some of the cobblestone peeking up from the water, plus the reflection of Rachel in the water with the dance pose that she was in was a nice touch to the photo. After finishing this set I immediately knew I wanted to do these images in black and white.

After editing the images I showed some of the results to a few friends and two of them in particular referenced Martha Graham’s Lamentations performance. Knowing nothing about either Martha Graham or the Lamentations performance, I watched a video of the performance (thanks to a link provided by my friend Mohan) and saw why my photos from the session made them think of this performance. While Martha was not physically restrained, the fabric that she was wearing made for short, restricted movements of her body, and her body language read as that of one who is captive and looking for a way to be free. It was good knowing that my work reminded them of that. I hope to try this idea again but using interpretive dancing as the medium, just to see if the images themselves will have a strong impact. Until that day and the next dance session, enjoy the images from this set.

[JRP ’13]