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Chiaroscuro, Baby!

Chiaroscuro is Italian, meaning, literally, light/dark. In photography, it refers to the play of light and shadow in an image.

In choosing how to light dance, it is my opinion that one should select that which is appropriate not only for the mood you want to convey, but also the subject matter – what kind of dance is it and who are the dancers?

Independent of the concept, you can light things softly – emphasizing the beauty of dance and the dancer – or you can choose to emphasize the athleticism of the dancer and their form.

With “modern” dance, I think emphasis on form and the musculature of the dancer is appropriate. For other types of dance, I feel that a softer lighting style emphasizing beauty and style is appropriate.

In either case, it is the play of light and dark in image that conveys the message.

Natasha is a very athletic dancer, who is attracted to modern dance styles.

In selecting lighting, I wanted to emphasize her form and her body, the athleticism and the power she brings to her dance. To do this, I edge lit her, with some fill to reduce the contrast in shadow areas. Edge lighting places highlights on either side of her body, helping to define muscles and creating opportunity for that light/dark interaction – for chiaroscuro. It is dramatic, more “in your face”, and in my opinion perfectly suited to this form of dance.

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