I've always loved photos of dance in alternative spaces. Photography like The Dancers Among Us place dance in the context of the everyday and capture the spontaneity and joy of movement, in a way that planned studio shots can't seem to do.
Doing this photo shoot with Ashley Baker gave me an opportunity to try that out, and it was wonderful. I saw my city in a whole new way by dancing in it, noticing nooks and crannies I'd probably never notice otherwise. I felt like a dance ninja doing a sneak art attack on the three-piece suits at Tempe City Hall.
It's interesting how having a photographer legitimizes dance in public spaces. I've danced in public without a camera before, and was surprised at the number of people that averted their eyes. This made me feel vulnerable, invisible, and even a little embarrassed. But when there was someone with a camera, people seemed to feel they had permission to stop and watch. Their discomfort, and mine, was gone. Somehow the camera gives permission to everyone. I have an audience (the photographer) and there is a visible, external motivation for why I am dancing. People watching don't doubt my sanity.
It's the same thing that happens when people have kids, and everyone can see you're talking in a silly voice or dancing or doing silly things for the cute child you are with. And because everyone can understand, they feel like they are allowed to watch people with their kids. But if you did those things without a child--totally different story. Somehow, kids and cameras make social deviance more permissible.
Anyways- a big thank you to Ashley Baker for the experience and the photos! If you are looking for some fun dance photos at affordable rates, I'd recommend this gal.