Photos capture strength of 45 dancers
A Tauranga photographer has captured the strength of 45 Bay of Plenty dancers in her first-ever public exhibition.
Alisha Taylor’s free exhibition titled is on display until October 1 at The Incubator Creative Hub at the Historic Village.
A former dancer, Taylor described her exhibition as a celebration of dance and photography combined.
Each dancer provided Taylor with a “power word” or sentence to describe how dance made them feel.
The 41-year-old photographer said her images are bold, simplistic black and white prints to bring the attention to the dancers’ form, inner and outer strength and beauty, positive body image and confidence.
“I asked them to choose a pose that they felt connected with, rather than me directing them in what to do,” she said. “I wanted their own unique creative flow to show through the images.”
Taylor said it had been both exciting and scary putting her photography work on display after months of photographing the 45 dancers featured in the exhibition.
“It feels like a piece of myself hanging on the walls,” she said. “But it has been totally worth all the hard work when you step back and see the finished product shining back at you — a sense of pride and achievement.”
Dance was also a big part of Taylor’s life since starting ballet at age 3 and dancing competitively until age 16.
She later gained a diploma in performing arts and studied rock ‘n’ roll competitive dance, cheerleading and “lots of” musical What: Dance Strength When: Until October 1, open from 10am-2.30pm. Where: The Incubator Creative Hub at the Historic Village Cost: Free entry theatre.
Taylor’s eldest son Austin also dances and was recently named the Dance NZ Made National Year 8 Champion.
“I have had the pleasure of enjoying his journey of dance and meeting and photographing amazing, talented dancers along the way,” she said.
Taylor said she finds photographing dancers a “wonderful challenge”.
“I have an understanding of the timing of their movements, so can anticipate when to capture them just at the right moment,” she said.
Tauranga’s Ayva McOnie is one of the 45 dancers photographed.
The 13-year-old said she feels empowered when she is dancing.
“I am in control, I feel like I can do anything,” she said. “If I am having trouble at school, I go home, and I think about it when I am dancing.”
Ayva started dancing at age 5. She was an audience member at one of her friend’s dance shows and felt inspired to give it a go.
“My first class was a ballet class, and I just wanted to learn more and more,” she said.
The Tauranga teen now dances ballet, jazz, contemporary, musical theatre, lyrical and hip-hop at Dance Avenue.
Ayva hoped the exhibition would “make a big impact” and give people strength like dancing gave her.