One of my favorite things about living in Seattle is the cultural station. When I first moved here nearly two years ago, the station ran PBS programming during the day and the cultural arts programming in the evenings. Now it’s a twenty-four hour cultural arts station. I love to turn it on and let it serve as background noise. The programming really is excellent…
…most of the time. Their ballet selections tend to come from the eighties or earlier, and as such have horrid filming. I can’t tell you how many times I have sat down to enjoy a piece, only to have to deal with a camera trained on the dancer’s face.
Let me explain from my years of dancing that facial expressions, while an integral part of any role, are not what a dancer spends years and years perfecting. I can forgive a close-up on a gorgeous port de bras where the dancer is otherwise still, but I cannot forgive being completely shut out from enjoying the dance itself by an inept cameraman. I’m a dancer. I have been most of my life. Even when no longer in classes, I’ve practiced on my own. When I sit down to watch a dance, I expect to see the dance!
Oddly enough, I feel similarly about figure skating and gymnastics. I don’t mind tightening a camera angle on an important bit, but I cannot stand not being allowed to see the piece at all! These people all worked very hard to become skilled at their craft, and they deserve to be appreciated for all that dedication. Not sharing the entire piece that they have spent so much time perfecting is downright disrespectful.
I wonder if there’s a way to convince cameramen and their respective directors of this.