Long Exposure Photos Capture the Elusive Language of Dance [Gallery]

Famous artist and potographer Jesús Chapa-Malacara invites everybody share his vision of dance.

  • Photo: Jesús Chapa-MalacaraPhoto: Jesús Chapa-Malacara
  • Photo: Jesús Chapa-MalacaraPhoto: Jesús Chapa-Malacara
  • Photo: Jesús Chapa-MalacaraPhoto: Jesús Chapa-Malacara
  • Photo: Jesús Chapa-MalacaraPhoto: Jesús Chapa-Malacara
  • Photo: Jesús Chapa-MalacaraPhoto: Jesús Chapa-Malacara
  • Photo: Jesús Chapa-MalacaraPhoto: Jesús Chapa-Malacara
  • Photo: Jesús Chapa-MalacaraPhoto: Jesús Chapa-Malacara
  • Photo: Jesús Chapa-MalacaraPhoto: Jesús Chapa-Malacara
  • Photo: Jesús Chapa-MalacaraPhoto: Jesús Chapa-Malacara
  • Photo: Jesús Chapa-MalacaraPhoto: Jesús Chapa-Malacara

For years numerous photographers and artists have tried to accomplish the impossible: capture the bewitching movement of dance in a single, frozen image.

Jesús Chapa-Malacara has come extremely close to the set goal with his ethereal series “Dance Prints: Humans Slicing Through Space,” which explores the language of dance through striking images and ghostly gestures.

For his new photo series Chapa-Malacara chosed to focus on two diametrically opposed forms of dance: ballet and breakdancing. One is incredibly precise and graceful while the other is wild and expressive.

However, the results of the experiment are palpable on the page even once the actual movements are gone.

“I think they’re working really beautifully, playing off each other,” the artist wrote in an email to reporters. “One is so upright, the one is all about being on the floor and up side down. In the future, I would like to expand the work even further, both in scale and in subject matter.”

Chapa-Malacara, who is also dances, understands a subtle truth about dancers. He explains this little-known secret on his Kickstarter:

“Here’s the thing about being a dancer. Whereas most people think of dance primarily as the cool tricks and poses, dancers spend a lot more time thinking about the movement in between than the actual poses. So I kept thinking, how can I tell that story? ”

“I had an idea.  Calling in a few one-time favors for space and dance talent, my idea worked!  From that, the first part, the ballet series Esprit de Corps, was born,” he explains.

“Since then, I’ve added breakers, wackers and house dancers.  And the possibilities are nearly endless!  I’m psyched to try out more styles, more concepts and just friggin’ run with it!”

He also spoke of the difficulties he faced when creating his project: “Among the biggest challenges we’ll face is scheduling. These productions are big and between getting all the right bodies in the same place at the same time, convening all of the equipment and finding suitable shoot spaces that are available to coincide with those times, it can get tricky. We’ve done it before though and we’re confident we can do it again.”

The resulting images “capture the fluidity of motion with a heavenly ease, making the viewer feel like an audience member in a personal performance”, The Huffington Post described the series.

Chapa-Malacara is now raising funds on Kickstarter to expand his amazing project and hopes he’ll manage to encapsulate the entire language of dance, particularly ballet.

“I’ve already set up arrangements with all relevant vendors, all people with whom I’ve worked in the past and trust. That’s huge. I’m also giving the reward turnaround a good leeway, so that’ll help a ton.”

He explained, “Each photo you see is every little piece of what it takes to start and finish a ‘word’ within the ballet language, all the little details dancers spend years perfecting. So over the long term, I hope to create a visual compendium of the ballet lexicon.”

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