Ballet Photography: NCDT's Carmen


Photographing North Carolina Dance Theatre for the better part of two decades has given me the opportunity to see many amazing performers, and dancer Sasha Janes was one of them.

But Janes appears to be on track to exceed his on-stage career as he continues transition to his new role as a choreographer. His latest work, an updated version of Carmen that incorporates local history and themes, is another triumph.

Another dancer I've photographed over the past few years, Melissa Anduiza, steps up to the challenge and makes a star turn as the lead character of Carmen. Also turning in wonderful performances are the men vying for her attention, Naseeb Culpepper and Pete Walker, and Anna Gerberich.

As a bonus, this performance opens with George Balanchine's Western Symphony, set by associate artistic director and former Balanchine muse, Patricia McBride (unfortunately I didn't get a chance to photograph this piece).

The show gives a sultry start to NCDT's season.

Pete Walker and Melissa Anduiza in Carmen

Pete Walker and Melissa Anduiza in Carmen

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Anna Gerberich in her 1930's costume

Anna Gerberich in her 1930's costume

Pete Walker warms up

Pete Walker warms up

Melissa Anduiza and Jordan Leeper share a light moment

Melissa Anduiza and Jordan Leeper share a light moment

Naseeb Culpepper and the guardsmen

Naseeb Culpepper and the guardsmen

Anna Gerberich and Naseeb Culpepper

Anna Gerberich and Naseeb Culpepper

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Carmen leads a revolt by the mill workers

Carmen leads a revolt by the mill workers

Melissa Anduisa works her charms on Jordan Leeper

Melissa Anduisa works her charms on Jordan Leeper

Carmen has a powerful effect on men

Carmen has a powerful effect on men

Gregory Taylor, Melissa Anduiza and Sarah Hayes Watson

Gregory Taylor, Melissa Anduiza and Sarah Hayes Watson

Janes added some contemporary moves to the piece

Janes added some contemporary moves to the piece

Amazing seduction sequence as Anduiza's Carmen, hands tied behind her back, works her magic on Naseeb Culpepper

Amazing seduction sequence as Anduiza's Carmen, hands tied behind her back, works her magic on Naseeb Culpepper

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Melissa Anduiza and Naseeb Culpepper

Melissa Anduiza and Naseeb Culpepper

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A high-flying Sarah Hayes Watson

A high-flying Sarah Hayes Watson

Pete Walker looking dapper

Pete Walker looking dapper

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Jordan Leeper, right, and friends take flight

Jordan Leeper, right, and friends take flight

Pete Walker

Pete Walker

Culpepper and Anduiza

Culpepper and Anduiza

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Angry Carmen

Angry Carmen

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Baseball players, led by a shirless Pete Walker, add another local dimension to the story

Baseball players, led by Pete Walker, add another local dimension to the story

Carmen struts

Carmen struts

Melissa Anduiza and Pete Walker

Melissa Anduiza and Pete Walker

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Tender moment

Tender moment

Anna Gerberich and Naseeb Culpepper

Anna Gerberich and Naseeb Culpepper

Carmen collapses

Carmen collapses

Conclusion

Conclusion

Take a bow

Take a bow