It was a rainy grey morning in North London. We were quite puzzled about how the day would unfold but what we knew was that it would be an exciting day, having seen the photographer’s previous portrait of a flamenco dancer.

 

Rhythm is a Dancer

The day was in preparation for the ‘Move Your Soul is a Dancer’ event from the Wellcome Collection, a series of events exploring the psychology and physiology of dance, and its impact on the body and minds. At the heart of the event: discussions and performances involving dancers from various disciplines, a psychologist, a neuroscientist and various other scientists as well as portraits by a fine art photographer – what we travelled to North London for.

Tanguito | Move your soul tango event at Wellcome Collection

So on this “fine” December day, Bruno and I joined the crew in his studio, and after a coffee and some pastries (why not?), the preparation for the photoshoot started – warmup, costume selection, fitting, ironing, screen set-up, lighting adjustement… And then Conrad showed us the lights. Not just any lights, but the thin line tubes that he uses to capture stillness and movement in his acclaimed pictures.

It was our photographer’s first portrait of two dancers together, so we didn’t quite know how it would turn out and where on our body to strap the lights. Because there is so much ‘leg action’ in tango, we first strapped them to our legs, but quickly realised that the pictures were not really capturing the essence of tango. After all, tango is an embrace so really, shouldn’t the lights be on the torso instead?

As soon as we moved the lights around our arms and torso, we realised we were on to something. And then it was a couple of hours of experimenting with ‘light painting’. To make the most of Conrad’s photographic technique, we needed to change our mindframe from being dancers to being painters – we needed to imagine which drawings the lights would make when we moved, rather than focus on the moves themselves.

tanguito tango video at Wellcome Collection

View Tanguito’s video

 
 
 It was a fun day, full of experimentations – artistic freedom and collaboration between art forms always fosters a very special energy. We’re very proud of the result and happy to share our portrait and Wellcome Gallery video with you.