Sunday, January 18, 2015

Dancer + Flamenco, Santa Maria del Mar, Cuba, July 29, 2014

On a visit to my friend Eduardo at his hotel, a group was performing for the tourists in the lobby. Three dancers moved to the music created by three musicians, while some non-relevant program played above them on the television. The space for their performance was tiny, and they did their best to keep the mood pleasant.

My eyes then noticed this young girl getting ready to dance. She looked little more than fifteen years old, and carried herself with such grace and composure. She was wearing this same dress, red and black. All my mind could think about was this dress against the green wall of the racquetball court near the beach.

Eduardo saw my reaction, we talked for a minute and then he walked directly over to the group's leader to present my proposal: would they be interested in heading to the beach for a recording session, as well as some photography?

They came over to look at my work, both the photographs as well as the video. Immediately we hit it off and scheduled a morning to pick up the entire group in two cars. Fast forward to that morning, they were ready as promised and we arrived at the court well before sunrise.

We set up the video camera on a tripod, and the manual camera so as to minimize the noise while they performed. The heat of the morning caught up with us quickly, and the young women found themselves struggling just to finish each number… but did so courageously.

Alejandro was in charge of the small camera, and he triggered the shutter an astounding 3,000 times in two hours. All in all we had a great morning, were blessed without a single sound for the recording, and left the group on the beach to enjoy the water for the morning.

Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 555 ELD/180 mm combination onto Fuji Neopan Acros 100 ISO film.

After seeing this image on Google+, a dear colleague left these words for us to read:

"Dancers, musicians, photographers. I truly believe that each one of these can experience a certain euphoria while engaging in their particular art. That time when the mind is truly clear of all clutter, concern and fear. Nothing left but pure enjoyment of his or her expression. It is evident that this dancer is there, not thinking of anything else in her world, simply living for this moment in time."

He then shared more of his generosity by purchasing this print to further the education of girls in Haryana and Rajasthan, India. With one print purchase an entire classroom is funded for one month, and girls can continue on their path to the realization of their dreams.

This man's name is Mike Fetterer, and I am proud to consider him my colleague and friend.

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