All Dressed Up
In the two weeks since I first announced the production of my first documentary about the Ballet Folklorico, I have seen so many people on Facebook sharing their memories and it has gotten me thinking about my own experiences with this group. It’s hard to believe, but it was almost exactly twenty years ago that I received a call from my cousin Richelle asking if I would be interested in photographing the official OLS Ballet Folklorico portraits. I was an aspiring photographer at the time and looking for new challenges, so, of course, I jumped at the chance to put my creative talents to good use. Knowing this project would have a lot of variables to manage and would be my largest project to date, I was so excited for this opportunity.
The day of the shoot was something I will never forget! The atmosphere was pure adrenaline. The hustle and bustle of families, dancers, instructors, and volunteers running around was thrilling to me. As George Micheal blared from the boom box, dancers in full dress gathered together, twirled, and chatted while they waited for their turn in front of the camera. Being surrounded by all the bright colors, dance props, and smiling faces filled me with such pride and gratitude for the Ballet Folklorico.
As dancers posed in front of the background, each brought their own personality and love for what it meant to wear their costume. Whether it was a flowing dress, tight jacket, region-appropriate hat, or distinctive dance prop, it was easy to see their level of commitment was very high when it came to representing Ballet Folklorico. I was so happy to use my talents to capture a moment in time in OLS Ballet Folklorico history.
Looking back, I can see how that project helped set the stage for the career I would eventually cultivate. Up until that point, the majority of my jobs centered around personal photography, primarily family portraits and senior portraits. Though I enjoyed working with people on portrait shoots, I craved more creative challenges. I haven’t thought about it in years, but, in a way, that project was my first real step towards commercial photography.
Twenty years later and here I am getting ready to capture the beauty of the Ballet Folklorico, only this time it will be in video. I cannot wait to be surrounded by this excitement and devotion again!
Click here to learn more about my Ballet Folklorico documentary project and find out how you can help with the production!