Pho­tos cap­ture strength of 45 dancers

Bay of Plenty Times - - LOCAL NEWS - Dance Strength

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.

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