Dance Obsession: Dance Academy

As you know, every so often I discover something amazing and have to write all about it. (See: Austen obsession and North & South, for examples.) I’ve been on a bit of a dance bender since the winter holidays and have been lapping up every dance movie available on Netflix. Here is a taste of what I’ve been watching in my downtime:

  • Shall We Dance? — A Japanese businessman who leads a boring life, sees a beautiful woman in a window of a dance studio. He begins dance lessons to get to know her better and his world opens up. (subtitled)
  • StreetDance — A predictable movie about British street dancers who have to team up with a ballet studio to win a dance competition. It plays out exactly how you think it will, but it’s got British accents so I tolerated it.
  • First Position — A documentary about young dancers prepping for the Youth America Grand Prix, a competition that will determine scholarships and shape their futures. Includes at least one very overbearing Dance Mom.

But at the tippy-top of this list is the amazing Australian show Dance Academy, which just added the third and final season to Netflix streaming! Ladies and gents, if you like rooting-for-the-underdog dance movies like Center Stage, if you like a touch of teen melodrama, if you like watching pretty people in leotards twitter across the stage, if you like Aussie accents and pretty scenic shots of Sydney harbor, this is the show for you. Full stop, no joke, pick up your remote and watch the pilot.

dance academy

Tara Webster is a talented, young ballerina from a small country town in Australia. She auditions for, and is accepted to, the prestigious National Academy of Dance in Sydney, where she promptly learns that she’s got a lot of work to do to catch up with the other students. The show follows Tara’s exploits as one of the bottom-rung dancers (à la Jody Sawyer!) in her Year One class.

The entire ensemble is fantastic: Kat, who is innately talented but doesn’t want to follow in her principal-ballerina-mother’s footsteps, acts out all the time; Christian, a talented dancer, is also a juvenile delinquent; Abigail, Tara’s roommate, is at the top of the class but still feels the need to put others down; Sammy loves to dance but his family doesn’t support him.

The best part is that there’s a ton of dancing! Ballet, modern, hip-hop! So you get your teen dramas and your dance fix!

I really need someone else to watch this show so that we can discuss it together!

Memories Without Photos

There is a moment from my wedding that I don’t really like to talk about, much less write about, because the more I dig it out, the more I think about and analyze it until it gets fuzzy on the edges. Like handling a necklace with a chain that gets kinked-up easily, the more frequently I remember that moment the more it seems to change in my memory.

The best way for it to stay pure is in my head. But for the sake of this entry, which I’ve been thinking about for a while, I’ll talk about it:

Sometime after our ceremony but before dinner, Walt and I ran back into my in-laws’ house so I could change into a reception dress. The 1940s-inspired glamour gown I wore during the ceremony was too long for me to walk around in, and I had a tea-length Betsey Johnson dress to wear for the rest of the night. My husband of maybe 10 minutes helped me into my second dress and tied the bow for me while I looked at us in the mirror, my back to him and his hands working the pink ribbon. It took him three tries to get the bow right.

There are no photos of this moment, and what’s more, I’m glad that there aren’t. This memory belongs wholly to me — how I felt with the sash pulled taut against my middle and the light from the window fading as the sun was setting on that grey day — and not reinterpreted by someone on the outside of our little bubble. It wouldn’t be the same if I had a photograph of this moment. It would’ve looked the way someone else saw it.

I loved our wedding photographer, of course; she was one of the best decisions we made concerning our wedding. But I’m glad that that memory is mine: how I saw us in the mirror, and not reinterpreted by her lens.

I feel as though this is important to note: not everything in a wedding will be documented. As a wedding photographer, I am there to photograph a representation of your day — something that, when you look back on it, will evoke memories of “Oh, look at Auntie Muriel dance! Remember how she did the chicken dance?” or, “I can’t believe we picked that color of green for our ties! It must’ve been the 2010s,” or, “Look at how young we were… gosh, that was such a wonderful day.” You will remember friends of old, family members who have passed, even details like what napkin patterns you may have chosen for that special day, years ago.

But we do not capture everything. And in this age of phone cameras and Instagram and the ubiquitousness of documentation, it’s easy to think that a wedding photographer can and should capture everything. Long ago, when I first started out, I had a client who was upset that I didn’t deliver every twirl of her first dance in photographs. And I felt then — as I feel now — that photographs are amazing, photographs are invaluable, photographs are important, but photographs can only go so far to preserve a feeling.

This might come as a shock to some, but I encourage couples to go off by themselves and to do things without me on their wedding day. I give them room to breathe, be by themselves, soak in the moment.

Documentation is fantastic for candid moments and details, but when it comes to the little things that you hold closest in your heart, maybe it doesn’t need to be photographed. And I really hope that this strange blog post reminds you to be present on your wedding day.

Artistic wedding photos

Behind the Scenes | Austin Wedding Photographer

This blog has been, for the most part, weddings-weddings-weddings for the past few months. On the one hand, I love it! It’s why the blog exists, after all — to show the beautiful personalities and days of some of my favorite new people — but on the other hand it’s been missing that oh-so-irresistible charm of Personal Overshares, which I haven’t done in a while.

The season is slowing down (actually, save for a few sessions here and there, it’s at the stopping point until the spring) so the blog is going to have a few more personal touches now. And what is a blog without silly photos of your favorite wedding photographer (hint: that’s me!) behind the scenes?!

Since our last behind the scenes post in September, this is what I’ve been up to…

creeping wedding photographer

Creeping during toasts…

gesturing wedding photographer

Gesturing to wedding parties…

little chair elissa

Sitting in tiny chairs meant for children…

driskill couch photographer

And also posing with teensy couches and armchairs… (could I just point out my crazy eyes in this photo? I think I’m just REALLY excited about the tiny chairs!)

graceful wedding photographer

Dropping my camera on grass (oh so gracefully)…

light testing wedding photographer

Being the light-test subject for my 2nd shooter…

new years wedding photographer

Counting down to midnight with dancing, rocking people!

reception shooting wedding photographer

Showing off my gunzzz…

silly austin wedding photographer

Oh yeah, and dancing with invisible people :)

Thanks to Caitlin, Cassie, Mercedes, and Kelly for these photos!