The recent Ferndale Dance Academy production of Cinderella Liberty marked the 10th anniversary of Laura East’s ever more impressive dance shows, and the 10th year I’ve photographed the dress rehearsal. I still remember the first year, where one small dancer stood out among all the others. 10 years ago Kelsey Wortman captured me with her enthusiasm and it’s been fun watching her grow up and get better and better each year. In fact this year Kelsey has been teaching her own classes at FDA, and just a few days after the performance, she went off and got married!
During this year’s performance there was one dancer who reminded me of that first look at Kelsey 10 years ago. Brianna Ryan, at 8 years old, has the dance chops and stage presence that make you wonder how she could be so young. Her enthusiasm and dedication really showed throughout the performance.
Every year that I photograph this show, I try not to take too many photos because it ends up being a headache to edit that many, but with several run throughs, I always try to get both group shots and individual shots of all the dancers. Since they’re moving about so fast, it’s often hard to know what’s going to happen, and when I finish uploading everything to the computer, I wonder how I managed to take so many photos.
Of the over 1000 photos I took that day, this was my favorite, as it perfectly captured a very funny moment in one of the later run throughs. Sofia, playing a sailor, gets in a tussle with Brianna, whose pickpocket character reappears throughout the performance. Right before they started this scene over, Laura encouraged Sofia to really push Brianna, like they were really struggling. Sofia took the instruction to heart, and sent Brianna to the floor on her butt. As everyone in the theatre burst out laughing, you could hear Laura instructing, “Ok, maybe not that hard!”