The Franglais Tog – Getting Dance Creative with “Katelyn”

1st November 2017 Uncategorised 0 Comments

I contacted a dance company called  LoveBallet Dance Company about the possibility of photographing one or more of their students. This dance company is dedicated to every child, whether their aim is to gain confidence and grace, to learn the joy of dance, to improve balance and co-ordination or to train for a career in dance.  There are opportunities for children of all ages and the aim is make the lessons a fun and enjoyable way to learn the art of dance.  They also offer exciting dance classes for Adults too… “you are never too old to dance!”

They kindly put the word out for me and I was contacted by Katelyn’s mum and we arranged our first shoot. Here is a little about this incredible young lady, by her mum…

Katelyn first started ballet when she was 4 but she absolutely hated it and left after a year.  She then did Street dance when she was about 6 with LoveBallet.   After only about 9 months, LoveBallet could no longer run the classes of Street dance at the current location.

Due to family situations at the time, it was not possible for her to attend the other venues where Street Dance was being held.  Miss Lorraine, the principal of Loveballet, continued to email us with the latest places their classes were being held.  Eventually, when Katelyn was 9 and a half we got her back into dancing as it was obvious to us, that she needed a physical outlet for her energy and to gain confidence with others. She was feeling as though she did not fit in anywhere and it got to a stage where she was very unhappy being herself. We hoped that by getting her to go dancing she could hopefully gain some confidence and also have an outlet for her excess energy!  

Miss Lorraine remembered Katelyn and her dancing. She advised us,  that Katelyn should do ballet because is was the centre of all other dances and Katelyn had shown great potential of being really good at it. Katelyn was not keen on the idea. But, thought she would give it a try. She fell in love with it immediately, she found she was able to loose herself in the dance and was at last happy to be Katelyn – the dancer. 

Every morning at 6.10am,  she is up stretching and exercising, when doing her homework she can usually be found laying on the floor with her laptop in a full stretch with a stretch band attached to her feet!   She has been dancing now for about 4 years and in this time she has raced through the grades at a very quick rate and passed all with high distinctions even gaining 50/50 on two of her exams. She has since gained scholarships with the British Ballet Organisation and Ballet Theatre UK.  She is currently working on a show with Birmingham Royal Ballet.  Her aim is to eventually gain acceptance into the Royal Ballet of which she is pursuing with great determination.

I have worked with young Katelyn now on 4 projects, 3 on the same day! She is so hardworking and dedicated to her dance, it just blew mew away. She is absolutely awesome to work with and as well as being a very attractive young lady she is disciplined, polite and an all round good egg. I simply cannot recommend her highly enough.

Im so much in respect of her attitude to her dance and the way she presents herself. I have booked her for another two shoots. The first in the Cloisters at Gloucester Cathedral where she is busily choreographing her own dance routine. I’m having a one off dress made for her for this dance and I will be both videoing and taking stills.

The second will be in France at an 11th Century french chateau, which by chance is owned by an english lady who was also a Ballet dancer , choreographer and ballet teacher. So she jumped at the idea of having a shoot own her property. Both Katelyn and her mum are very much looking forward to this.

Anyway, back to now. I have completed 4 sessions with Kateyn :-

  • Contemporary Jazz routine dancing to the Michael Bible track “Feeling Good” – Choreographed by Katelyn
  • Classical Ballet On Point Dancing to  Don Quixote Act 1. No 21 Variation: Kitri by Leon Minkus.
  • Venetian Ballet Dance to “17 Moments Of Spring” by Michael Tarvierdiev – This involved using 6 different Venetian masks, used throughout the dance again Choreographed by Katelyn

Again, her work ethic through each of these routines, was second to none and we did around 20 takes per dance. She never once complained. But, was eager to deliver .. and she did!!

The Franglais Tog – Getting Dance Creative with Chloe

31st October 2017 Uncategorised 0 Comments

I have known of this incredible young lady for sometime now, having done some classical portraiture with her. She is every photographer’s dream to work with. She is a natural poser, beautiful and very well mannered.

Chloe, started dancing ballet at the age of three then moved onto dance with a company called Dance Beat in Hitchin. At 7 years of age she joined Younique and took up Street Dance, Glee, Gym and Dance, Lyrical, Teenagers, Tap and Musical Theatre. She is now currently dancing Street at Dance Steps Academy, Acro at Dance Generation Studios and will be joining EDSA in September studying musical theatre, acting, dancing and singing. This summer (2017) she is  training with Kerry Newell of FK Dance for her choreography (designed by Devon Young) for the dance shoot with me on the 9th Aug

So, this shoot is being held at Natural Light Space studio’s in Northamptonshire and will be a “Street Dance” to Sia’s, “Move Your Body” – Alan Walker Remix. We will be working in what I call the old or dark studio. Because it has dark floors and rough industrial look which ideal for the type of video work I’m doing with Chloe.

The day will start by the old lifts and rustic stairs which will be very in keeping with the “street” theme, with Chloe posing and walking around and then moving onto the old wooden stairs in the studio. These initial shots are to be used as an entry point to the dance routine. The studio will be setup with several permanent lights. Chloe will be stationed more or less in the middle of this. My plan is to video her from several angles to make etch video more interesting. She will be lit primarily by the natural day light coming in through the large 6ft industrial windows giving her an edgy look and again in keeping with the theme of the shoot.

I’m going to be using a 20ft track, fitted with a dolly, tripod and fluid head. this will allow me to easily follow her smoothly up and down whilst keeping in with the rule of thirds. As I said above, I intend to shoot her from different angles and then again close up. Followed by specific parts off the dance routine.Once again this young lady never let me down, she worked immensely hard and never complained once. Im looking to book her for another session hopefully vey soon



The Franglais Tog Blog

31st October 2017 Uncategorised

TO-Studio Session-029-A-wsWith the start of my additional new business venture, i.e. Dance Videography /Photography adding to my already successful classical portraiture work. I thought it was about time that I started a blog page. The thing is, I’m hopeless about writing about stuff. But, the other half has nagged me into doing it, so here I am.

This has all come about because I’m bored. I have technically taken early retirement, after running a very successful photography business in the UK and settled down in the South France. The plan was to eat grapes, cheese and drink wine. However, there is only so much of that stuff you can throw into your body every day.

So, I’m back in business but taking a slightly different slant on things. Although, I still do “Classical Portraiture”, I’m now ploughing all my efforts and venturing into the dance world, providing dance videography and photography to clients.

But, having no portfolio to show anyone is a bit of a problem. So, I came up with the idea of offering these services out free until April 2018 which is when I would start charging clients. But, my rates would be much cheaper rate than is currently being advertised in the big wide world as well as offering 12 month’s interest free credit.

The next problem to think about, was where to offer these services. I’m in France and there is large ex-pat (Franglais) community over here. So, I have targeted them and the French, although the French are notoriously difficult to get to buy a service, especially if you are not French. Don’t get me wrong, they are a wonderful people abet very insular and I believe that they are far behind the UK in-terms of the way the Internet is used for business. That makes it difficult to target them. That aside, there is as said, a very large ex-pat community and I have already made headway into that market securing a number of repeat bookings as well as help from a estate agent dealing in large French chateaus and being allowed to use chateaus for said work.

I have also targeted the UK, having decided on two studios to hire as and when needed. This has been a roaring success in that I have bookings which are currently taking me up to February 2018 with both professional and amateur dancers. I generally return to the UK every 6-8 weeks anyway to see my two sons and this fits in very nicely with my clients in both France and the UK.

In terms of equipment, I had my trusty DSLR Canon 6D and lenses. But, what video related equipment should I need to buy. I perused the market place for a quite a time and decided to come in just above the entry level, with the view that, if I am successful I would then go and buy the more expensive pieces of equipment.