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May 9, 2017

Atlanta Ballet’s New Vision

Budweiser

When we got the call from our friends at ajc.com about possibly shooting a promotional video for the Atlanta Ballet, I was immediately excited. I knew the subject matter would lend itself to amazing footage, so then it would just be a matter of finding the best story to tell.

In 2016, Gennadi Nedvigin left his longtime position as a principal dancer with the San Francisco ballet to move cross-country and take on the Artistic Director role for our very own Atlanta Ballet. Not knowing much about professional ballet to begin with, I didn’t know such a move was unusual. While talking with Gennadi on the day of our shoot, I came to find out just how unique such a migration was. As a Russian-born/Bolshoi trained dancer, Gennadi Nedvigin has “been there and done that” in the dance world. Moving from Principal Dancer to Artistic Director so his personal vision could be realized was most definitely an opportunity to take advantage of.

BalletOur directive was to produce a short video promoting Gennadi’s Choice, the first production under his direction. Mr. Nedvigin wanted to showcase the world-class skills and talents of the Atlanta Ballet dancers. One way to do that on video is to put on display some of the hardest moves these athletes perform that they make look easy. We chose to shoot the majority of performance footage in slow motion at 120fps (frames per second). Seeing muscles flex and joints twist in slow motion is pretty incredible.

A surprising thing that happened on shoot day was witnessing the dancers NOT hit every move perfectly. I went in thinking that because these are professional dancers, they would just nail these moves every time, but after coming to understand the complexity and difficulty of what they were trying to accomplish, I gained an understanding and deep appreciation for what it takes to succeed in the spotlight. What these dancers do takes time to perfect; not just days, weeks or months, but years and years. Performing in costume, on stage and in front of so many eyes would be a daunting task for anyone. To make it look easy, as these dancers do, is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

I’m honored to have had the opportunity to work with Mr. Nedvigin and a few of the Atlanta Ballet dancers to tell the story of their passion for what they do, why it means so much to them and why making it look effortless is an essential part of the beauty they are trying to capture on a daily basis. A new era of dance has begun in Atlanta. I look forward to attending future performances under Gennadi’s direction and because of the work I do, I now have a better understanding and appreciation for the work he does.

-Jon Milavec

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