Klaus Wegele, Dance Movements. Interview

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Please tell us when and how you started shooting ballet? How did ballet enter into your life?

Well,  about ten years ago I tried to get involved with ballet photography as at that time I had a model in the studio who had some ballet education and I loved how she worked and was able to convert my directions into posing. I guess the body control of a ballet dancer is just unbeatable due to their education (well, that of a sport gymnast will be similar). So I also started to go  to ballet performances more frequently. I just admired the dancers and the choreographies, no matter whether classical or contemporary.

Then I asked in the local Staatstheater whether I could take photos on a rehearsal but got neglected. Then I wrote  to about ten theaters here in Germany but most of them did not even respond and the ones, which did, responded negatively. Exactly three years ago I saw a poster of a local privately run ballet company which I never had seen before. It was Delattre Dance Company (DDC). They performed MOMO (from Michael Ende https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Momo_(novel)) as a story ballet choreographed by the company founder and choreographer and  Stephen Delattre. On the poster the homepage was also mentioned , so I wrote to them and they responded I should come to a training session to get to know each other. So I did and I took the first shots and Stephen and Martin (the Vice President) appreciated my work and photography skills from the very beginning. So we started into a cooperation and whenever possible I take photos of the libretto for their programs.

Your Dance Movements project shows dancers in the moments of their self expression. How do you decide what kind of movement will be presented on your photo? Do you let your models improvise or there is always a strict plan?

What happens is that due to my cooperation with the DDC I am involved in a lot of training sessions and there I get  most of the ideas for my next following shootings. But it’s just a rough idea. From my photographic background I know there are different types of models. Some of them wait for directions and some  get into a kind of creative mode. Therefore I use my rough ideas for a shooting start and if the dancers get into this creative mode , then it  starts very soon to be a creative process with the dancers. I give my ideas and then the dancers and I discuss how to convert it into a photo. For me this is the best way for creation. Most of the times the dancers like to do  a dry run first, but I always use every chance ;o)). In the studio I  need to check with a kind of polaroid shot the light and also the poses and shadows, and then I adapt the light first and secondly I correct the angle of the pose or correct the pose itself.

Are there the main “heroes” of the project or do you always work with new dancers?

There are some heroes whom I very often work with. These are the dancers who like to go into a creative session and inspire me the most. And I also work with new dancers, but to my surprise it’s very difficult to get an appointment with  dancers.  I found out the ones who come immediately are most times the ones who later will be my heroes because besides dancing they love  the creative process of taking photos.

What is important for you when you choose your models?

There are actually only two important things. They know how to control their body (and that’s with dancers always the case) and that they love to be creative. Now thinking about your question I understand that I have seen most of them dancing  and I guess I  choose them by the way they move, no matter female or male.

You realise different types of ballet shooting – in studios, at the rehearsals, on stage.

Which type do you personally enjoy more as an artist and why?

The most challenging are the shootings at the rehearsals and on stage because of fast movement and  low light in most modern ballet performances. So I sweat quite a bit when doing this type of shootings. But in these shootings I am not creative or not much as I just need to capture the dancer in focus (with high shutter speed) and to try to put them in a split second in a way into the frame that it is appealing to me.

I actually like   the studio or outdoor shootings more  as here I can be creative and unique.

You have a great experience of shooting abroad, for example, with Russian and Ukrainian dancers. Tell us about your most unforgettable “foreign” shooting.

The most unforgettable shooting? There were actually two, one was the rehearsal of Iana Salenko in Swanlake of the National Ballet of Ukraine in Kiev. At that time I didn’t  personally know Iana. But I realised that she was quite a different dancer compared to those I had seen by that time.  Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to do some creative work with her besides rehearsals. And the other WOW shooting I will always remember was Nutcracker in Kiev. I was sitting on the stage during the  performance and could take photos there and experience the mood of the dancers and the tension during an actual performance.

We are presenting Dance Movements project today, in our first publication dedicated to your work. What other series would you recommend to those who would like to understand your art better?

Well, my background is Nude Art and Landscape Photography and I have got quite some appreciation in those fields ( some prizes and my works were published in some German magazines). So I would suggest  that those who are  avid for photography  look at my work in that field too. But as I am developing each day, everybody should just stay tuned what’s coming up.

It probably sounds strange, but I think that  it’s better just to appreciate art without having to understand it.

Are there any  “rules” of dance photography that you never break?

No, it’s difficult to say there are rules. Well, the only rule I never break is: Don’t stop trying. Try, try and evolve.

Do you like going to the theatre as a ballet lover and which is your favorite performance?

Yes, I love  to go to ballet performances very much. And I am always having a problem when I am sitting in the audience without a camera ;o) and vice versa when I am taking photos of an actual performance I would like to sit in the audience without a camera just admiring the piece. The performances of my ‚home‘ company some of which  I have watched five and even more times when they do the actual performance. I also saw Nutcracker and Swan Lake (and others) multiple times. But the performance which has been the most outstanding for me so far is ‚Alvin Ailey American Dance‘. (I tried to get to a rehearsal there but also was neglected  )) 

What are your plans for the Dance Movements project? In which direction would you like to develop it?

My plans are to be able to involve costume designers, makeup artists and hairstylists in my project to create not only dancing figures but also use other artistic means to create new images. Also I want  to work with clay, powder and other stuff and do also a bit integration work of my three fields of expertise: Ballet, Nude and Landscape.

My plan for next year is to go with dancers into rocky formations and waterfalls, and my dream would be to take photos in the American national parks, but my budget is unfortunately very limited. Though I have some fine locations in Germany as well)).

Thank you very much to give me the opportunity to present my work in ANNA PAVLOVA NETWORK

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image media=”50043″ media_width_percent=”100″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image media=”50044″ media_width_percent=”100″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image media=”50045″ media_width_percent=”100″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image media=”50046″ media_width_percent=”100″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image media=”50047″ media_width_percent=”100″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image media=”50048″ media_width_percent=”100″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image media=”50049″ media_width_percent=”100″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image media=”50050″ media_width_percent=”100″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Models: Nelen Maria, Huy Tran, VaLerio Villa,  Chiara Salvador, Lina Sera, Tu Hoang, Maeva Lassere, Alina Serduychenko

Klause Wegele exclusively for Anna Pavlova Network, 2016. All rights reserved.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]