Dance Recital

“Carey Kirkella’s accidental photography series Dance Recital began when she visited her step-mother, a dance teacher, backstage before a performance. Her innate ability to capture these young girls at once acting both supremely childish and frighteningly mature can be seen in every image within the series. Not too sweet and not too sad, Dance Recital brings back the best memories of childhood and has been lauded by Photo District News, Russian Esquire online, and Lenscratch. Prints have been exhibited at Jenkins Johnson Gallery in New York City”.

Artist statement

Dance Recital is a series of documentary color photographs of young girls backstage during their dance recital performances.  I photographed several different dance recitals in New Jersey and Pennsylvania between 2002 and 2008, mostly using 35 mm and medium format film.  The moments and portraits are captured spontaneously, without direction. 

Contemporary American Culture and social traditions fascinate me and influence how I choose the subjects I photograph.  In this series, I’m drawn to the in-between moments before the dancers get ushered out into the spotlight, the personality traits that are revealed, and the vulnerable moments within the heightened energy of anticipation.  It is evident that the girls are getting a glimpse of some of the issues they will face as they grow into adolescents and women.  Body image, the concept of beauty and ideas of social conformity are taught subconsciously and are taking shape.