I think it's because I wanted a better understanding of what was going on. And partly because I want to learn something new. Another part because I want variety in my exercise repertoire. It's certainly not because I ever want to perform dance. I've never been one to want to perform anything. That's why I'm behind the camera.
I took a ballet class today, a private class because being a complete novice, I would need some quick tutorials to even place in the Beginner's class. My teacher Carol Wei, a colleague to Kathy Mata (some of whose dancers are featured above and in the photos posted previously), knew exactly how much to teach so that I could handle all the new things (positions, terms) - yet challenged me to a physical straining point that was just beyond what I'd do if say, I were doing squats by myself. Consequently, I feel like I had a good workout and learned a lot in an hour.
What does this have to do with Photography? Photography is the reason why I've wound up at the ballet studio, making my quads plead for mercy. I'd never be here, had I not been asked by a dancer who found me on craigslist, to photograph his group's rehearsals. This lead to an ongoing relationship of ballet performance photography.
As I've iterated before, photographing dance is completely different from watching dance as an audience member. Yet, as a photographer, I felt separate from dancers because I am not versed in the language of dance. OK, dance is a universal language etc, but without experiencing ballet, it's like being a tourist knowing a handful of superficial phrases in a foreign language, seeing all the obvious tourist sites. Learning ballet is like doing a study abroad, an immersion, a start of an inside understanding, noting the intricacies and subtleties and not just the obvious Eiffel Tower/ Grand Jetes.
Towards the end of my session, the students of the next class started showing up. It was the Toddler class, a half dozen tiny girls, delighted to be sporting tutus and tiaras. I think I know my next photographic goal ;)