In the last few months I’ve gotten to know the work of Patricio Melo a little bit (at left). He is a soloist with Ballet de Santiago (Santiago, Chile), and a clearly gifted young dance photographer. Patricio is also a contributor at the Winger; if you go there and click on the word “posts” under his picture in the sidebar, you can see some of his stunning work. Move over, Rosalie O’Connor.
What I like most is how Patricio captures the ordinary and somehow makes it sing—a sweaty dancer’s back in company class; a beautifully stretched foot in a shredded leg warmer; a hot ballet classroom with torn tape on the floor. This is probably because I love the process of creating dance as much as I do the final product. (But make no mistake—his performance photos are also brilliant.)
Because the dancers at Ballet de Santiago are so beautiful in stills, I decided to poke around a bit to see whether I could find any video of Ballet de Santiago dancers in rehearsal. First, check out this clip of principal Luis Ortigoza working with Richard Cragun on John Cranko’s Initials R.B.M.E. Then visit Ballet de Santiago’s website to see a beautiful rehearsal video of André Prokovsky’s Ana Karenina. (Note: any of my students who saw Louisville Ballet’s “Visionary Forces” mixed rep performance with me last November saw Mr. Prokovsky’s choreography in the ballet, Vespri.) Finally, go to the bottom of Patricio’s July 13th post at the winger and watch the beautiful video montage of the company’s production of Carmen (caution, parents: this ballet is very steamy and sensual).
Ballet de Santiago’s current artistic director is the legendary Marcia Haydée; she was made principal with the Stuttgart Ballet (Germany) early in the 1960s, where John Cranko created many roles on her, and she eventually became artistic director there before returning to her native South America. If you have seen the Shirley MacLaine/Anne Bancroft movie, The Turning Point, then you saw Marcia Haydée dance for a nanosecond, along with many other ballet luminaries.
The dancers and work coming out of South America these days continue to amaze me. I am adding Ballet de Santiago to my must-see-them-before-I-die list. Thanks, Patricio!
This is one of Patricio’s beautiful rehearsal images; the dancer’s name is Lidia.