Captured by the Ballet

I had another opportunity Friday night to shoot a dress rehearsal of Cleveland’s Verb Ballets.  Now I had never seen a ballet prior to my first shoot of the Verb a few years ago, but I’ve gotten some beautiful photos and now look forward to any opportunity I can get.

Verb Ballet image #1

Shooting the ballet is tough.  This particular shoot took place in an outdoor amphitheater, Cleveland Heights’ Cain Park.  As in any theatrical shooting, it’s dark with very bright and contrasty lighting.  Add to that, hot and humid weather conditions and mosquitoes buzzing around my ears and you get the picture!  I usually shoot these types of shows at ISO 6400 which gives me adequate shutter speeds at aperture f2.8.  This show seemed particularly dark and many shots were blurred at shutter speeds that were too slow for the action.  I did however get a fair share of good shots as well.

Verb Ballet image #2

The company performed 2 dances.  These shots all come from the second, Richard Dickinson’s “Carmen: Story of Passion,” a story of love, passion and tragedy.  When I shoot shows, sports, or events, I usually don’t get caught up in the event itself, but Friday night was different!  About a third of the way thru this dance I suddenly began paying attention to the story itself and the beauty and interpretation.  I only wish I had paid attention from the start!  I found myself quite moved by it as I shot.

Verb Ballet image #3

Verb Ballet image #4

I usually try some multiple exposures with the ballet.  This performance was done on a very wide stage and was too spread out for much success at that.  This shot turned out fairly well and seemed to capture many of the characters and almost summed up much of the story.

Verb Ballet image #5

I’d urge anyone who has a chance to see if you can catch this dance.  It has been added to Verb’s repertoire and I hope they will perform it again so that I can go see it as purely a spectator.  A review of an earlier performance is found here at

About Kolman Rosenberg

My interest in photography began as a college newspaper and yearbook photographer during the stormy 1960s and 1970s. I was influenced by many of the great photojournalists and documentary photographers such as W. Eugene Smith, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks, Margaret Bourke-White and other black and white photographers of Life Magazine and the earlier Farm Security Administration. Though many of these photographers documented the horrors of war and the plight of poverty, they also showed me the dignity and adaptability of human beings in their desire to prevail.
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4 Responses to Captured by the Ballet

  1. Bob says:


    Outstanding images! Beautiful work. I like them all, but the first one…WOW.


  2. Nancy Balluck says:

    These are magnificent, Kolman! The Verb will love these! I’ll send you mine via SmugMug, not Facebook! You have quite the talent. These shots are absolutely wonderful!


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