I would have rather eaten cockroaches or torn out my fingernails with pliers than sit there – all suited up and sophisticated and surrounded by people with pink hands. I was in my mid 20’s then; a street-hardened veteran cop that hunted, fished and could survive in the wilderness for days with nothing more than a knife, a match, and a well-worn country song. Yet here I was, way out of my element and very much against my will. It was a long-forgotten promise that landed my butt deep in premium theater seating wearing a suit and tie that day. I wasn’t going to break the promise, but I didn’t have to enjoy it.
It took forever to shuffle all the suits and gowns into place, then a while long to mutter about goodness knows what, but then suddenly there was a hush. The soft glow of stage lights rose slowly to utter brilliance, and from stage right, the sculpted body of a ballet dancer, clad in white, and so beautiful, gracefully drifted across the stage painting the air hypnotically with her hands. That was the first act of my first ballet. By the end of the third act, I didn’t want to leave. I’ve loved ballet ever since, and now I leap at every chance I get to shoot a dancer.
I’ve worked with Alexi Irvine a number of times. She models for us for Blessed Bodywear. She and her sister Jo are professional dancers in some of the Las Vegas shows. We have tried for a long time to get everyone’s schedules in sync so we could shoot something and it finally came together.
I chose what some may think an odd location to do the shoot. It was a storm drain and drainage ditch. I chose it to contrast the softness and beauty of the models and their graceful flowing movements, with the hard concrete and confined space. Then I finished the images to give a sense of fairy-fantasy similar to how it felt to be at that first ballet.
When I shoot something outside the formula, I always feel a little unsure about sharing it with the world. These images were in my head before I shot them and they took me back to that day I described. They mean something to me and I hope you see some of the magic too.
Alexi and Jo worked so hard that day, yet they did it with such spirit and passion it seemed like play. I certainly had the pleasure of shooting two outstanding performers, and athletes, and women.