The dancer pauses for a moment with her hand on the barre, her chest is heaving, her calves are quivering. She can feel the blister on the inside of her big toe beginning to open up again. She knows that she is close... she can feel the music and her will pushing here ever closer to exactly the place where her performance needs to be but there is a deep ache in every one of her muscles that cries out for her to stop. The music starts again and she comes back to attitude á terre.
I was looking for a way to illustrate the sweat, the discipline, the pain that it takes to be a good dancer. These stage beaten pointe shoes speak deeply of thousands of hours of rehearsal and I wanted the lighting to be evocative of that struggle. I put one flash camera left shooting through a 3" snoot that I made out of a cardboard box, this flash I had at 1/64th power. In this case my snoots are just cardboard sleeves placed over the head of my flash, but they are quite effective at preventing the light from bouncing all around the set. The second flash was upstage centre pointed directly at the pointe shoes. It was on a light stand about 2m off the ground, pointing down at the shoes, this flash was at 1/128th power. I also used a snout here but this one was longer, about 6". This light gives, I hope, the feeling of a single light hitting the performer, the metaphorical aspiration for all of that rehearsal.