Wendy as The Firebird in UAF’s Graffiti Hall

Abstract, Alaska, Black & White, Photography, Portraits

Between performances of The Firebird Wendy did a quick photo shoot in the graffiti hall, right outside the Salisbury Theatre.

With only time for a short shoot, and unsure the aesthetic I was going for, I decided just to experiment with the lively and colorful background. The difference between color images and black and white is stark. Even with slight desaturation, there is a color discord which emphasizes certain forms and elements. Black and white images seem to be more about mood and design.

I think I like the black and white. I’m sure I’m biased.

WendyGraffiti-6

WendyGraffitiBW-2

WendyGraffiti-2

WendyGraffitiBW-3

Fine Art Friday: North Star Ballet’s “The Firebird.”

Alaska, Music, Photography, Portraits

A few weeks ago I mentioned a new posting theme: Fine Art Friday. That has been the first, and only, installment. Until now.

North Star Ballet School, in Fairbanks, Alaska, will premier The Firebird this weekend, a ballet based on a Russian fairy tale, and set to music by Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. A full article about the local production with dancer, director and seamstress interviews can be found at the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

It’s a standard fairy-tale plot, a prince battles evil to free a damsel in distress, in this case calling on the Firebird to help him defeat the evil Kotschei. Dancers adorn bold, bright and colorful costumes, especially Kotschei’s cape and a group of monsters under his control. Continuing with vivid colors, the second act includes three short pieces, Red Arc/Blue Veil, Suite With Hats, and Der Rosenkavalier Waltzes. 

Firebird has performances at UAF’s Salisbury Theatre, Friday April 19 at 8 p.m., Saturday April 20 at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday April 21 at 2 p.m.

Kotschie (Jarrin Overholt,) is banished by the Firebird (Wendy Langton,) as Prince Ivan (Ian Ziesel,) looks on

Kotschie (Jarrin Overholt,) is banished by the Firebird (Wendy Langton,) as Prince Ivan (Ian Ziesel,) looks on

Monster capture and torment Prince Ivan

Monsters capture and torment Prince Ivan

The Firebird and Prince Ivan dance together in the forest.

The Firebird and Prince Ivan dance together in the forest.

Red Arc/Blue Veil is not a dance with a narrative. Instead it is a study in movement and music. Composed by Fairbanks-based, but internationally-renowned composer John Luther Adams, Red Arc/Blue Veil is metaphorical piece about the Aurora Borealis, exploring the geometry of time and color.  Fluid successions of movement rise and fall, crisscrossing the stage. Lighting – green, red, blue, and purple – strengthen enhance the ethereal feel.

Movement and form is repeated in a canonical form, meaning the same steps but at different times.

Movement and form are repeated in a canonical form, meaning the same steps, but at different times.

A fitting, and fantastic, lens flare for a piece symbolizing the northern lights.

A fitting, and fantastic, lens flare for a piece symbolizing the northern lights.

The Nutcracker Ballet, it’s that time of the year.

Alaska, Arts, Photography, Portraits

It may not be December yet, but the holiday spirit will descend on Herring Auditorium this weekend as The North Star Ballet performs The Nutcracker. This is the 26th year the ballet has been staged in Fairbanks. Set to the classic score by Tchaikovsky, it follows the tale of a young girl named Clara, who saves the Nutcracker from the sword of the evil Mouse King. The Nutcracker then transforms into a prince, and Clara is whisked away to the land of sweets, to be entertained by dancers representing tea, coffee, Danish marzipans and of course, the Sugar Plum Fairy and her cavalier.

The North Star Ballet follows a traditional Balanchine choreography, and is a spectacular show if you’ve never seen it, or go every year. Performances this year feature returning guest dancers from Ballet West, Deanna Karlheim and Hannes Van Wassenhove as the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier.

The Nutcracker will be performed tonight, Nov. 30 at 8 p.m. tomorrow Dec. 1 at 2 and 8 p.m. and Sunday Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. Again I encourage everyone to support their local art scene and show them how much you appreciate their hard work.

Happy holidays!

Guests look on during the first-act party scene as Ian Zeisel dances the role of soldier doll.

Guests look on during the first-act party scene as Ian Zeisel dances the role of soldier doll.

Clara's attention is beckoned to the guard house moments before the Nutcracker turns into a prince.

Clara’s attention is beckoned to the guard house moments before the Nutcracker turns into a prince.

Nutcracker 2012

Wendy Langton and Ian Zeisel as the Snow Fairy and her Cavalier pose and snow drifts down around the dancers.

Wendy Langton and Ian Zeisel as the Snow Fairy and her Cavalier pose and snow drifts down around the dancers.

Nutcracker 2012

Drosselmeyer and his clock.

Alaska, Arts, Black & White, Film, Photography, Portraits

Drosselmeyer is the magical character who gives Clara the nutcracker doll which allows her to visit the Land of the Sweets in Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. Jim Baird currently inherits the role of Drosselmeyer in North Star Ballet’s production. Here he is on set, next to the clock which he uses to magically enter and leave scenes.

JIm Beard as Drosselmeyer, Dec. 2010.

Everyone dances

Alaska, Arts, Black & White, Photography, Portraits, Wildlife

While down in Anchorage photographing a character study of Sue Perry, a seamstress making costumes for Alaska Dance Theater’s production of Othello, I took some time off to photograph rehearsals. The fluid movements and long extensions often seen in ballet were there, but wonderfully contrasted with sharp, edgy lines and tense, jerky motions showing both internal and external character struggle. I was lucky enough to have my telephoto on when through the window I caught raven making his own graceful movements. I couldn’t find the mythological view of ravens as tricksters, shape shifters and on rare occasions sinister, more fitting while looking at the dancers practice this dark play penned by Shakespeare. Sometimes life shows true serendipity.