Chicago Mexican Folk Dance Photography
Chicago Ballet Folklorico Dancers
I've had the pleasure of working with these stunning dancers last year, and I couldn't be happier when Cindi from Ballet Folklorico Xochitl reached out to me to commission a shoot for her dancers.
There are many reasons to book a professional dance photo shoot, and one of her reason was to motivate her dancers during the pandemic. With all the performances cancelled, Cindi wanted to remind her dancers why they spend all this time and energy on their art. My portfolio might consist of mostly ballerinas, but that doesn't mean I have any less love for other dance arts! I love all dances and those who are passionate about them!
Ballet folklorico, for those who are unfamiliar, is a collective term for traditional Mexican folk dance that emphasis local culture with some ballet characteristics.
Capture the momemt!
One of the iconic establishments in Chicago, the Civic Opera Building, has a grand and classical aesthetic. With its monochromatic color pallet, it's the perfect contrast with the dancers vibrant garment. I've already done a ballet photoshoot at this location, so I'm quite familiar with the area.
Instead of predetermined poses, I wanted the dancers to show off their personalities, so I asked them to start dancing and not worry about the camera. I think being a professional dance photographer, has spoiled me a little. They are not camera shy because they are used to performing in front of crowds, which allows me to focus on capture their movements, and expressions.
That Synchronization though!
If you don't already know, this set of images were photographed at the Calder's Flamingo in downtown Chicago! Cindi wanted to to emphasis Chicago as part of her story telling. Mexican culture is as much part of Chicago culture as any other, and what better way to blend the two with a modern sculpture and traditional dance?
Credit to the dancers, Jocelyn, Ximena and Jasmin for nailing the dance and be in sync. They made it look easy, but it took a few tries because they were doing full spins! A few shots were ruined by the wind; it's part of shooting outdoors. But we were able to capture quite a few stunning keepers!
Time to Shine!
After the group photos, I wanted to focus on individual dancers! I love aerial shots, so I asked the dancers to let loose and show me what they got. Jasmin (green skirt) got a whole lot of air! Jocelyn's (orange skirt) shot was actually right before she took off. We both though the way her foot pointed to the ground has a unique look to it. Ximena's (red skirt) shot kind of combines the two...arms fully extended like Jocelyn, and with air time like Jasmin.
It's Our Community
I love that Cindi not only supports her own school and dancers, she also supports dance photographers. In this tough time, it's important we, in the dance community support one another. Whether it be donating to dance schools, hiring professional dance photographers, buying accessories from local businesses...
Arts have always been overlooked, so we need to stick together and make sure what we love lives on!
Check out Cindi's school IG here: Ballet Folklorico Xochitl