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The Still Point: A Collaboration of Photography and Choreography

Published February 27, 2017
Anna Patsfall, by Meagan Helman

Anna Patsfall, by Meagan Helman

As an ephemeral art form, dance is realized at the same instant it vanishes. Dance and photography have an extended and intertwined relationship. Photographers can capture and hold onto moments of dance that would otherwise be lost, while simultaneously creating an independent work of art with its own compositional and aesthetic choices. Florida State University Master of Arts in Dance candidate, Meagan Helman, has been exploring the relationship of the still image and dance in preparation for her capstone exhibition, which will open March 4th in the William Johnston Building Gallery.

The Still Point: A Collaboration of Photography and Choreography is the culmination of a partnership between Helman and three MFA candidates in the School of Dance. Helman followed the choreographers as they moved through their own creative processes from rehearsals to the culminating performances of their MFA concert. Helman also worked with the three candidates in a photographic studio creating headshots and publicity photos unique to each piece.

Working with the three choreographers– Andre Lumpkin, Anna Patsfall, Cheri Stokes– over a period of months, Helman explored how long-term collaborations can create images which more closely align the photograph with the choreographer’s aesthetic. This approach gives the viewer a better insight into the dance experience. Describing her approach, Helman explains that each choreographer’s unique vision, energy, and style caused her to make different decisions in her photographic compositions.

Helman says:

“The keystone for me in this exploration is finding my individual aesthetic and voice as a dance photographer. I am trying to hone in on my personal practice for working with choreographers in order to better capture and represent their work. In the end, I hope my project will not only illuminate the progression of the choreographic process, but also the evolution of my personal artistic journey as a photographer.”

As a dancer herself, Helman explains that she sees many parallels in her approach to both choreographic and photographic composition. There is a harmonious balance of visual elements that both art forms endeavor to produce.

The exhibition will open on Saturday, March 4 at 6:30 pm for an exclusive Sponsor Reception in conjunction with the Paint Around Gala & Auction, a biennial event benefitting the students of Art, Art Education and Dance at Florida State University. The exhibit will open at 7:00 pm for Gala attendees.

The Still Point: A Collaboration of Photography and Choreography opens for general viewing from March 6 – 20, 2017 in the Gallery of the William Johnston Building (WJB) at the Florida State University. Gallery hours are Monday – Friday from 8:00 am – 4:30 pm. For more information contact La Toya Davis-Craig at or 645-2449.