Photographer: Dario Bonazza – Urban Dance
I am a professional photographer and journalist based in Ravenna, Italy. Articles and images by me are published regularly in photo magazines such as Progresso Fotografico (second oldest photo magazine in the world, established 1894) and Tutti Fotografi, as well as other publications dedicated to contemporary dance. I also do field testing of cameras and lenses for the photo magazines I contribute to, while other paid photo work comes from stage photography (dance, music, theater).
My pictures have been exhibited in galleries, at photo shows in Milan and Rome and in unorthodox places such as a vintage train. Moreover, I create and run multi-media shows with dancers, music and body projections.
About this project
Sometimes, I also setup dance shoots among my own photo projects, and this was the case. The pandemic stopped most if not all dance events in Italy, and I was really missing such kind of photo shoots. So I thought to take advantage of a day out with Arianna Ilardi, a serious dancer and very expert in site-specific performances. The location was the old docks in Ravenna, undergoing restoration.
Here I would like to let Arianna speak for herself about dancing and shooting in non-dedicated environments.
Arianna’s own words
For years, dance competitions and photography sets have been held; what do those who move in this environment have to face? Certainly the difficulty of not performing either on stage or in a studio with the right floor, which is the most important thing of all for health. A proper dance floor cushions the descents from jumps to avoid trauma to the back, it is not slippery, it is not too sloped.
This is why a professional dancer will prepare a series of poses and sequences that are ideal for both performing and photographing, also depending on the urban environment where she or he will have to perform.
An advantage, which some see as a difficulty, come from any statues, railings, buildings and above all people!
Yes, passersby often represent a difficulty; for example, during a dance set in the center of Florence and along the Arno, a lady started talking to me while I was in balance ... Fortunately, I didn't hear her because I was focused on my body, but she is present in the photo!
Statues and buildings can certainly 'steal the show', especially in case of palaces by famous artists. But every time I performed in a very beautiful urban location, I tried to take advantage of the environment to enhance what I was doing there; I did not perceive it as an antagonist. Instead the degraded urban environment brings another type of difficulty: dirt and often broken glass ... That’s a real danger!!!
Railings often represent a disturbing element for photography itself, since Dance is nothing more than lines in space. Maybe you are in a beautiful position, the lights are perfect and a railing ruins everything...
My advice is to evaluate the place well and work with professionals, because they will not put themselves at risk and will not want to abuse either the environment or the photographer.
Credits for all pictures:
Photographer: Dario Bonazza
Dancer/MUA: Arianna Ilardi