Oh dear. Where do I begin? This photo shoot was life changing. It all began when photographer, Susan Yee of En Pointe Photography, contacted me and told me about her newest project The Soul of a Dancer. She wanted to photograph dancers raw, asking me to forget about technique and just let go. That's like asking a baker not to use measurements or telling a concert pianist to play blindfolded with one hand behind her back while singing Mary Had a Little Lamb.
Haha, I kid. But it was tough not thinking about extending through the foot, my turnout, or if my leg was fully straight. And humbling. Because dancing en pointe on grass is a lot harder than I anticipated. On top of trying to keep my balance while bearing my soul I also did not want to end up looking chubby. (Oh stop, Branflake. Just stop!) Alas, that is the truth.
Here's what would happen: I would play a song from a playlist I created. Susan would ask me questions about the song and what it meant to me. Then I started dancing to the music in whatever way the music spoke to me. And Susan just started clicking. Non stop. There was no "hold that pose!" or "do that again!" Nothing here was staged. She really wanted me to dig deep and express myself in a way I never had.
Some of the songs I chose were Warning by Incubus, In My Life by The Beatles, and Do What You Have to Do by Sarah McLaughlin. Music has always been a large part of my life and these songs in particular connect me to someone or some time that makes my heart beat faster.
She would ask me questions like "Why did pick this song?" and "What does it remind you of?" "Oh dear", I thought. Those were quite intimate questions that I never before fully answered myself. But it was cathartic to say "This song reminds me of a friendship that is no longer and I cannot think about it without being sad" or "There was once this guy..."
Thank you, Susan, for this beautiful experience.
See the full photo shoot on Susan's blog at En Pointe Photography
Susan is also an incredible wedding and lifestyle photographer