Dancing Across The Line
I'm always so happy to hear from dancers who I watched grow up through the lens of my camera. The most recent to reach out and say hello was former Canadian School of Ballet student Shayla Hutton.
Whenever I photograph dance, my camera's eye always tend to gravitate towards one or two outstanding dancers, which is fine when you're only looking for one shot for a newspaper, but when you're trying to capture as many dancers as you can so that an entire cast can have a few photos of themselves, it becomes annoying that your camera keeps returning to same stand-out dancers. Shayla was always one of those performers - the kind where you no matter how hard I tried to be shooting someone else, reflexes would kick in and I'd find my camera back trained in on Shayla. It was such a relief the year she was chosen to be Clara in the semi-professional production of The Nutcracker because it gave me a legitimate excuse for my lens to keep finding her.
For those wondering what happened to our local star, her dancing has taken her across the borderline into the US and she is based in NYC. She first made the move to New York when she was accepted into the Joffrey Ballet School's Jazz and Contemporary program then joined the Joffrey's Concert Group where she danced from 2013 to 2017 in various productions including Robert Battle's Battlefield, Donald Byrd's Drastic Cuts, Lighten Up by Jean Emile and a dozen or more others before moving to Nimbus Dance Works for 2017-2018.
Who knows where her career will take her next? Wherever it is, you can be certain that any photographer who gets to shoot the performance will find themselves wondering, the way I always did, why their camera just can't focus on anyone else.
A big "merde" (that's good luck in dancer-speak) to you Shayla, wherever your dancing feet take you next!