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The Northerner

Former photography student finds work with ballet

Photo by Jennifer Denham

Photo by Jennifer Denham

Sarah McIntosh, Contributing writer

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It’s that split second of perfect posture and balance that a dancer has as they glide across the floor and flow into the next movement in the performance that can be missed so easily. Each movement is so precise and timed that if you blinked you might miss a moment of the dance.

Jennifer Denham, a recent NKU graduate, has had plenty of practice in never missing the fluid movement of the Cincinnati Ballet’s dancers, it’s her job to capture their airy, quick movements.

Denham is a freelance photographer for the Cincinnati Ballet, she is there when they need someone to photograph rehearsals and special events when their full-time photographer is not be able to make it. The ballet uses her photos for their social media and some of their programs, her most recent shoot was the rehearsal for their “Romeo and Juliet” production that opened Feb. 14.

“Photographing dancers is a pretty difficult task, it’s almost like sports photography, you get one chance to capture one second,” said Allie Honebrink, director of marketing and communications for the Cincinnati Ballet.

The more comfortable Denham becomes with the dancers the better she becomes at capturing that one second. Her experience with the ballet began in 2010 with a documentary class she was taking at NKU, where she had to volunteer her time for a nonprofit and she choose the ballet.

They liked the work that she produced and ever since they have been asking her to cover rehearsals and special events for them. Her most memorable event with the ballet was photographing the Cure Starts Now, where young girls with pediatric brain cancer were treated to a tea party and fun activities that focused around the ballet.

Denham said it was the fact that the event wasn’t sad that made the project memorable. The ballet set up activities for the girls like ballet lessons, decorating their own tutus, costume question and answers and getting their makeup done by professional makeup artists from Sephora. In Denham’s eyes, it was a day that brought happiness all around.

“It was incredible to capture such a happy time in those girls’ lives. It was truly an inspirational day and something I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Denham said about the event.

While Denham loves using her photography to produce images that others enjoy, photography has really helped her overcome some great anxiety that she has had throughout her life. She’s accomplished many things and gotten to go places and meet people she never thought she would.

The Cincinnati Ballet is not the only freelancing that she has done since she graduated, she is also freelancing for the Cincinnati Enquirer, photographing concerts around the area for them. And while she is taking portraits and building her portfolio she is also dabbling in videography and hopes to one day become a director of photography or a photo/video editor.

“My goal is to photograph as many people I can whether they are actors, dancers, musicians or regular everyday people. I think people are important and I’d like to show that through my photography,” Denham said.

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Former photography student finds work with ballet