16 Mar Framing performance: The dynamic dance photography of Nardus Engelbrecht
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.