Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Interview with Dance/War Photographer Sebastian Rich

There is no introduction that I can give that would surpass the biography Sebastian Rich provides on his beautiful website.

This war photographer turned dance photographer was kind enough to visit us at Peridance and take photos of the company! Who knew that the images he would produce from one camera would be as visually stunning and entrancing as these?

Peridance is so proud of this recent collaboration with Sebastian. We look forward to following his dance photography career.

For more of these photos, keep in touch with PCDC on their Facebook Page. While you're there, tell us what you think of those photos!

You will be able to pick up a poster and postcards celebrating PCDC's Spring Season when you attend a show - March 9th and 10th, 16th and 17th. Tickets can also be purchased online.


Peridance Capezio Center. Why did you choose photography as a career?

Sebastian Rich. I am pretty sure photography chose me! I was born a terrible dyslexic almost to the point of illiteracy and still am, you will find this out all to quickly when you have to edit these scribbling’s for the 'Periblog' :-) My father was a film director and an artist and like him I saw life in images, not so much the written word as words or the construction of anything vaguely meaningful in the written sense was and still is very painful for me.

So when I first picked up a camera, I think at eight years old I realized with huge joy that I could tell a story with this little magical box. This didn’t impress my schoolteacher’s one little bit. So I ran away from the temples of conventional learning at the age of fifteen and began snapping the hell out of life.

P.C.C. How did you begin your professional career as a photographer?

S.R. My career as a photographer started in Northern Ireland during the troubles. I was 17 and an assistant fashion photographer! A newsroom assistant made a mistake thinking I was a seasoned conflict reportage photographer and booked me, I didn’t argue with her, as freelance poverty dictated the need at that time just to say yes to anything and everything. The day after I arrived in Belfast at that tender age twenty bombs went off! Truly a baptism of fire.

P.C.C. What was your first experience with dance?

S.R. My first ever experience with dance was at the Julio Bocca Academy in Buenos Aires Argentina just last year.

P.C.C. What was that experience like? Do American dancers differ from Argentines?

S.R. Well as I have only photographed at Peridance and at Julio Bocca my judgement may not be that comprehensive! But from what I have seen so far at this level of dance there is not that much difference in the sheer dedication to your craft. My only subjective observation is that their might be a slightly more fiery temperament from your Latin counter parts when something goes wrong...

P.C.C. Is there a connection, for you, between dance and other subjects you have photographed in the past (war, conflict, extreme hardship)?

Oh! This is such a long and hard question to answer its probably best if I direct you to an article that I wrote a little time ago for the Daily Beast. Yes there is a connection.

P.C.C. Has your process of photographing dance changed with practice? What is your process for photographing dancers? Do you direct them? Do you let them improvise?

S.R. So far shooting with Peridance Capezio is only my second ever dance assignment. So if I have a technique at all for photographing dance it is waiting for a single moment in time that says 'passion' this technique is pure reportage, my world. I do have some rather radical ideas that I would like to shoot with dancers. But for the moment I am learning my new craft.

P.C.C. Since you began on this new dance photography journey, has anything surprised you about dance?

S.R. I knew dancers were dedicated but my god I never knew to what depths. I am very much in awe of the dedicated passionate dancer.

P.C.C. Do you think of yourself as a mover/dancer? Do you relate physically to anything the performers do?

S.R. Ha Ha ! I wish, I have two left feet and absolutely no rhythm whatsoever! I would love to dance, I really would, I wish! I can relate to the dancer in so much that I am as dedicated in my profession to perfection as they are.

P.C.C. What is your response to why movement in your photographs translates so well? What is your technique to capturing the essence of a movement?

S.R. Patience and more patience! After a lifetime of photographing human movement albeit in a rather different scenario, you gain an instinct for when movement is perfect. This could be dance, sport or even a soldier firing a gun! There is a fraction of a second that all the elements, muscles, light, expression, eyes combine and create the essence of that movement. That moment in time again.

P.C.C. What do you feel is your most satisfying professional pursuit/ project so far?

S.R. Anything I choose to photograph, but at this particular moment in time its dance. I have spent my whole life photographing the worst humankind can do to each to other. Now the time for me is to capture the best we can achieve and dance is the expression of life. Plus dance photography is helping me to find a balance between good and evil! That may sound a bit trite but is fact I need to see beauty and expressive life.

P.C.C. If you were to blast music during a photo-shoot, what 3 songs would you play?

S.R. Bloody hell that’s a tough one!

Probably something very loud from Billy Idol, Pink, and Aerosmith of course. Mind you this is truly blasting stuff just to get the blood boiling

P.C.C. Do you have any dance photographers that you try to emulate? Any dance photographers (or even specific photos) that have inspired you?

S.R. Nope! I don’t know any other dance photographers at all none whatsoever! I have purposely not even looked at any other dance photographer’s work, as I most emphatically don’t want any one else’s ideas of what is right or wrong with dance photography. Or what is perceived as a great dance image. This is all so new to me and I am having so much fun creatively and learning by my own mistakes not the mistakes of others. I guess that last statement could be misconstrued as arrogant, its not meant to be. My eyes are fresh to your world so fresh, I want to be influenced by the dancers not by other photographers.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Win a Free Ticket to APAP at Peridance!

Can you identify at least 10 of these companies?

Below is a collage of all of the companies performing in  

Program A
Saturday, January 12th, 2013 at 8:00pm
Sunday, January 13th, 2013 at 4:30pm

Program B
Sunday January 13th, 2013 at 1:30pm and 7:30pm

Send your answers (with corresponding numbers) to to be elegible for a FREE TICKET to an APAP performance at Peridance's Salvatore Capezio Theater.

Don't want to play along? It's easy to purchase tickets online!