Dance is a pure form of expression – the body is text, is energy, is the brush painting moving images through space. For this reason, it’s challenging to freeze the gyration of a turn, a leap or a Port-de-bras, in a single image. Nardus Engelbrecht, who specialises in live performance photography, is tasked with the challenge of conveying pure energy radiating from the stage.

“It’s a challenge to try and capture the true energy of the performers while they are also positioned in their best form,” he explains. “So to photograph the perfect moment of energy, while they perform at the best of their ability, is what makes it challenging…The energy of the performers and the “now”. It’s happening live, and there aren’t retakes, for them or you. Then you get something special.”

When Nardus started working as a photographer in Joburg, digital cameras were a novelty, and smartphone photography wasn’t commonplace. It was a time before Instagram and the instant availability of filters. Back then, he received the amazing opportunity to shoot different topics in different genres such as business and the arts. The photographer took to dance, theatre and music because of the interplay between light and movement and the challenge it presents. Currently, he’s working on a project called Cape of Dance which aims to raise awareness of dancers and all dance genres in and around the Cape.

See a striking collection of his images below and be sure to follow Nardus on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Nardus Engelbrecht
A Spartacus of Africa 
Nardus Engelbrecht
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat 
Nardus Engelbrecht
A scene from the highly acclaimed New York-based Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater during their return to South Africa this month after 17 years at Artscape on September 16, 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Nardus Engelbrecht
From Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre
Nardus Engelbrecht
AL JULLE VOLKE
Nardus Engelbrecht
The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre
Nardus Engelbrecht
A ballet dancer takes part in the final of the South African International Ballet Competition at Artscape in Cape Town. It is the only event of its kind on the African continent and attracts top dancers from all over the world. There were 68 competitors in total ranging in age from 12 to 28 took part.
Nardus Engelbrecht
BalletMustFall
The dress rehearsal of Cape Dance Company performing their new season entitled CADENCE.
Nardus Engelbrecht
The Cape Dance Company performing ‘A Thousand Shepards’.
Nardus Engelbrecht
Le Sacre by the Cape Town City Ballet.
Nardus Engelbrecht
A scene from a varied programme called Ballet Beautiful by Cape Town City Ballet.
Nardus Engelbrecht
A scene from Swan Lake by Cape Town City Ballet.
Nardus Engelbrecht
A scene from Ballet Beautiful.
Nardus Engelbrecht
Another scene from Ballet Beautiful.
Nardus Engelbrecht
The Cape Town City Ballet pays tribute to Cole Porter in Night & Day.
Nardus Engelbrecht
Le Sacre by the Cape Town City Ballet.
Nardus Engelbrecht
Era
Nardus Engelbrecht
Era
Nardus Engelbrecht
Introdans, the internationally renowned Arnhem-based (situated in the eastern part of the Netherlands).

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