Julie England is a Calgary choreographer and teacher specializing in modern dance currently residing in Calgary, Alberta. Given Calgary’s small dance community and the amount of new and innovative show’s that are constantly popping up around the city, ironically this is where I ran into Julie at a recent dance performance in October. We spoke briefly and promised to meet up in the future to talk more about a few ideas she had in mind. Now I have known Julie for quite some time and our history goes back to when I was 14 years old while attending her dance class. What I remember of Julie at a young age were her ideas and the ability to constantly think outside of the box leaving her students always asking “You can’t be serious”?, but when it came down to it she always made what seemed like an impossible crazy idea into something challenging, fun, and original. When I got the phone call from Julie to meet up, I was excited to see what she had in mind and knowing Julie, the first question was how can we make this happen. We sat over coffee and we spoke about her plans and goals as a choreographer talking more about photographing some of her more recent work with a group of young dancers that she had choreographed for. After listening to her ideas, we came up with using a natural environment for the backdrop oppose to anything based on a stage environment as the concept was not about the performance. This was about an idea that Julie wanted to show in order to start promoting herself as a choreographer where she could stand out among other professionals in the industry. What better way to do that than to use incredible dancers, a cool location, and a ex-dancer and student to photograph it. You can see more of Julie here: http://julieenglanddance.com
Once we had finalized concept and ideas, I stared scouting and found a great location in Calgary’s Fish Creek park. The day consisted of about 50 pounds of gear, five dancers, one assistant, bush-whacking through ridiculously tall grass, dancers being bitten by ants and mosquitos all day, and of course the ever changing sunlight. The group shot is actually a combination of six different photographs with each of the dancers being lit individually, followed by an exposure for the back ground, and then all composited later in post production. Each of the single dancer images were all done in camera with touchups in post afterwards.
I hope you enjoy it.
One of the Julie’s dancers posing for a shot.
A group shot of all five Calgary dancers.