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Wonderland Behind the Scenes: Cinderella

Written by in Profiles

WBallet_Cinderella_int

This installment of the Wonderland Behind the Scenes series brings us to Cinderella. We sat down again with Design Army to talk about the process that went into what made this spread special.

How does this selected image fit into the book’s narrative?

This is our recreation of the scene in which Cinderella so badly wants to go the ball but is stuck doing her nasty chores. In Wonderland we illustrate it with the line, “Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you join the dance?”

2) What were two or three of the most challenging aspects of this particular photo shoot?

The biggest obstacle on this shot was figuring out how to get a van full of taxidermy packed and then mounted on the walls of a dilapidated room unfit for human habitation. There was mold, grime and filth everywhere. What you see is real — no new grime was added. I do not think a Hollywood set designer could recreate a more filthy room.

3) Did the performer perform this feat of physical artistry live?

The dancer portraying Cinderella had to be coaxed in to the room. She was already freaked out by the taxidermy animals we were unloading, then she saw this tiny 10’ x 12’ room filled with fungus. We had to beg her to come into for the shots. The floor was a sopping wet mush so had her stand on a 2’ x 2’ sheet of plywood to make her feel more comfortable.

4) Where was this shot taken?

This was shot at the Old Soldiers Home in Washington DC. We only did one shot here in the former waiting room for the home’s funeral parlor. Macabre. It was a perfect setting for Cinderella, as small and run down as you could imagine. And very sad.

5) How long did the shoot last?

This shot took about 2 hours from set up to break down with a crew of 15-20.

6) How many final take of the “live” shot?

We shot around 200+ frames. We had a version of her without the broom pushing around a vacuum cleaner with a little bird on her finger. It started to get too complicated so we handed the broom back to her.

7) Any other interesting thing about this that you could add for our readers?

All of the taxidermy belongs to Septime Webre, the Washington Ballet Artistic Director. We went to his apartment to load it the day before. His neighbors were curious and afraid. I am guess that they no longer talk to Septime when they see him in the hallway. Or at least when they see him at mealtime.

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    Tim said:

    This whole series of posts is a great look at what it took to create the beautiful photography for the book!

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    6:30pm
    Aubrey K. said:

    Really cool to see and hear about the process. I never would have thought this only took two hours from start to finish (or that the taxidermy was so close to home)!