Dance Publicity Photographs: Promotion of Dance in the Press

August 8th, 2005 § 4 |

I am often disappointed with the dance photos which I am able to present with the pieces at Impulstanz. Unfortunately modern dance companies believe that the audience has no right to see what the show actually looks like. They provide their own publicity stills and do not allow newspapers or anyone else to take photographs of the actual performances.

While some of the companies have provided excellent pictures which correspond to the show at hand – Opéra de Paris, Etienne Guilloteau, Jan Lauwers to name a few – others have offered pictures which have little or nothing to do with the stage performance. Particularly regrettable in this respect are the Marie Chouinard Company’s publicity stills which are purely iconic poster images which have little to do with what we actually see on stage.

In the case of Tanz Company Gervasi, I am obliged to present photographs from a previous revision of Fuga-Ce in other costumes. In the case of Sebastian Prantl’s Land Bodyscapes, the photographs offered are from an entirely different piece (I will try and get some pictures which I saw taken at the performance).

While I understand these dance companies would like to protect their image, at the very least there should be an official Impulstanz photographer shooting every show in rehearsal and offering the company director or manager to approve or disapprove shots from the rehearsal photo session. The technology exists.

Reviews of the work would be more vivid and useful for all concerned with accurate photo materials which correspond to what is actually on stage. Newspapers would probably be happier to run newsworthy photographs rather than somebody’s contrived poster piece.

Strangely enough, Anna Teresa De Keersmaeker and Wim Wandekeybus – whose pieces along with Jan Lawers have been far and away the best of the festival – offered some of the most accurate photos.

More and better dance pictures! Let us see what we are missing or see why we are coming to the theater.

§ 4 Responses to “Dance Publicity Photographs: Promotion of Dance in the Press”

  • JD says:

    Hello,
    I totally agree with you about the lack of dance pictures, though many companies do accept to be photographed while performing – see for example the photographs made, and shown on the Net, by the Agence Enguerand-Bernand, Laurent Paillier, Agathe Poupeney, the Hungarian Peter Peti and many others (links on my blog). The most unbelievable for me is the absolute lack of available videos. You could not list the amount of Swan Lake DVDs, while contemporary dance DVDs are just one or two (I think of A. T. de Keersmaeker’s DVD…) I cannot understand why. Sure it is not only a question of business… I wonder if many choreographers do not dislike the idea of being filmed, I mean that their perfomances leave some trace.
    (Sorry for my horrible english)

  • Alec says:

    Lots of choreographers film their work. Most of them have neither the money to do it properly (a decent record of dance performance requires at least three cameras with at least one of them operated by someone who knows the show) nor the technical expertise to do it themselves (why should they?). Then there is the whole deal of getting it on the web.

    With the quality of archival videos that they have have no wonder they are hesitant to put it on the web. I have seen enough of them to know.

    Anna Teresa de Keersmaeker works with a brilliant filmmakers (Thierry de May) and takes film and video very seriously as an addition to her own art.

    I would like to do nothing but make great dance videos, including some performance records, but until I can learn to eat air, there are other demands on my time and energy.

    Thanks for stopping by and thanks for your great weblog, gradually chronicling what’s out there. It a great service.

  • Great Dance Weblog says:

    Where Are the Pictures of the Dance Performance?

    There’s an August 8th post at uncoy.com, “Dance Publicity Photographs: Promotion of Dance in the Press,” by Alec (don’t know last name) that caught my attention: I am often disappointed with the dance photos which I am able to present…

  • Great Dance Weblog says:

    Where Are the Pictures of the Dance Performance?

    There’s an August 8th post at uncoy.com, “Dance Publicity Photographs: Promotion of Dance in the Press,” by Alec (don’t know last name) that caught my attention: I am often disappointed with the dance photos which I am able to present…

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