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  • Writer's pictureDon Toothaker

The Beauty of Ballet

Honestly, I know nothing about ballet. I recognize ballet when I see it, but I have no idea what most of it means or what makes "good" ballet. I have never been to a live, on-stage ballet performance. I have no idea what certain jumps, poses, or positions are or mean. I know what ballet shoes look like, but I had never handled any until three weeks ago, at the age of 54, and learned the toe of the shoe is hardened to help protect the hard-working ballet performers. I can guarantee that I have made numerous jokes over the years about tutu's, but, admittedly, I still don't know if tutu's come in different sizes or shapes or when they are meant to be worn or why. Like I said, I know nothing about ballet. However, I have learned that ballet performers are beautiful to photograph. In the past two years I have attended several ballet rehearsals while visiting Cuba and each has left an lasting impression on me. The commitment and emotion is evident. The grace and power is felt. The performers are proud and athletic. So, despite knowing nothing about ballet, but inspired by what I have seen and learned, I now want to capture the beautiful details of ballet in frame. I love creating portraits, but I am not much of a studio photographer. Instead, I prefer to photograph people in their environment using natural light. During the last three Photo Adventures to Cuba our groups have photographed ballerinas in various locations around Havana and, for me, it has become the highlight of each trip. The resulting images, so far, have been elegant, timeless, and beautiful. I return with my next group in March and I am already looking forward to the creative opportunities of working with these beautiful performers again. I may not know a thing about ballet, but I do know it is beautiful to photograph.


Photograph What You Feel


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Kathy Radford
Kathy Radford
Jan 16, 2020

Don I love these ballet shots. My daughter to ballet, tap and jazz lessons from Lorraine Reynolds who taught in Haverhill just of River St. She took lessons for 15 years and when I turned 40 years old I got up the courage to join the adult group and took tap and jazz for 3 years. Lorraine was one of the best teachers in Haverhill. She lived, worked and dreamed dancing, she was so dedicated. She was in the service and danced in the USO for the servicemen in the shows and drove a truck while in the service. The kids she taught loved her even though she was a tough teacher and ran a tight ship all the time…

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Stephanie Singleton
Jan 16, 2020

Beautiful narrative and incredible images capturing the strength, beauty, and grace of the dancers!

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