ⓒ All professional photos were taken by Gene Schiavone.
The first time I heard about Gene Schiavone was around 2015 when we heard that he was going to take pictures of the Florida Youth Dance Gala.
I also found out that he was the one who had taken so many photos of American Ballet Theatre. I felt a bit disappointed with myself, how couldn't I have known about him?
Moving forward to a year later, my mom proposed me the idea of going for a photo shoot with him. (Mom always encouraging me, right? I love her!)
Around this time, I already put into thinking that I might need some headshots and dance photos for the future. I had never taken official headshots or professional dance photos other than the ones onstage. Although I was not yet confident with my body image, I knew that this photo shoot will show me the beginning of something.
Mr. Gene is so sweet and caring. He received us with open hands and with eager to get a fantastic job done. He explained to me how the process goes: I make a movement, he takes the photo. Then we see what we can correct, I see what part of my body I should correct while he adjusts the lights. We try again and again until we get the perfect shots.
His work is exact. He loves taking photos with movement, capturing the perfect seconds. Although I came with some poses in mind, he still gave me some extra ideas of what to do with arms, heads or angles to get different, interesting and incredible new shots.
I really loved the versatility of the shots and costumes. I decided to have some with a black tutu, no tights, while also bringing my costume from Universal Ballet Competition: a romantic tutu. I got some Lucile Grahn-inspired portraits. Moreover, Mr. Gene has this beautiful project called the Pink Olga Gown. My photo with this gown became one of my favorites, and after earing it, we have to sign it.
With every dancer he works with, he asks them to leave a pair of pointe shoes signed. He says on his web page,
"Perhaps I will have an opportunity to photograph them and place their shoes as principals next to their shoes as 12 or 14 or 17-year-olds with big aspirations."
It was an honor to give my pair.
What an experience! I take this opportunity to say thank you to Mr. Gene Schiavone. The professionalism and kindness he works with are unique. I am thankful I had this opportunity and I am looking forward to having more.