There’s a lot that goes into preparing for a dance performance. Everything that goes into making a show adds up to countless hours of rehearsals, choreography and refinement, not to mention the time it takes to design, construct and purchase materials for costumes, props and sets. But the work doesn’t end there- there’s a whole new realm to conquer: marketing and promotion. Press releases must be written and distributed, bios executed, promotional photographs taken and polished. Getting a single decent promotional photograph is often a job in itself.
I had the perfect location in mind. Scouting for a the perfect photographic background is yet another job in itself, so it was good to have that part taken care of in advance. However, the location was deep in the midst of a busy shopping center which meant we’d have to photograph there sometime during off hours, specifically extremely early. Since one of us (who shall remain nameless) is not an early morning person, there was a certain amount of wheedling, pleading and cheerleading (you can do this! we must seize the opportunity!) that lead up to my 6:45am arrival to pick up my partner in crime, Mymuna. While it was a little bit painful to spring into action with the sun as our sole companion, it was nothing a little coffee couldn’t rectify.
And we had some killer costumes. Man, were they stylin’. Several of the construction crews that drove past said so (probably on their way to Starbuck’s four doors down). But don’t get me wrong, the guys weren’t lecherous, merely appreciative- I didn’t feel the need to shower after they said what they said.
We were a little antsy anyway, with the limited amount of time we had to work with before the stores reopened and the masses descended. We worked quickly and diligently to get ourselves costumed, feathers strategically placed, pointe shoes properly affixed, the camera set up and ready to go, and we basically had the place to ourselves.
Until we didn’t.
Just as we had gotten into position with the shutter on the camera ready to click away, a work truck pulled up and parked right behind us a few feet away. I hoped they would move on in a matter of moments, but it soon became clear they had no intention of leaving anytime soon when they unhinged the back gate of their truck and began unloading heavy equipment. We couldn’t figure out what they were up to until one guy unfurled a long hose with a fierce-looking nozzle.
They were going to pressure wash. Technically, they were pressure-washing us right out of the picture. Our picture. The one we had so diligently (and painfully) prepared for.
Long moments passed. They completely ignored us as they continued to go about their business (which is interesting in itself since we were pretty hard to ignore in red and black corsets, pink pointe shoes and black tutus. Not the sort of things you see every day). Mymuna and I looked around, then back at each other. We threw our remaining scattered items into bags, grabbed the camera and tripod and moved down to the next part of the emporium… which we realized was also probably due to be pressure washed shortly after the previous location… which meant we had an even more limited window of time to create a photographic masterpiece. The pressure was on… both literally and figuratively.
Sometimes when life lights a fire under your feet it’s just the thing you need- that ubiquitous cosmic cattle prod, that jolt to create. The end result is an adrenaline-filled thrill ride.