#danceanywhere – Johanna’s Story

Throughout our #danceanywhere competition Dance Ambassador Johanna Hadley has shown us some amazing images – so take a look at the dedication it took for some of her amazing photos…

#danceanywhere has been a great opportunity for everyone to start thinking about how dance is not just restricted to a studio space or stage. You don’t need a fantastic camera, you don’t need to be a professional photographer – you just need to love to dance … and the world becomes your stage!

My Dad, Tony Hadley (no, not the singer!), took my photos for #danceanywhere, and he certainly isn’t a professional photographer – in fact he is a retired hospital estates officer, so more used to photographing blocked drains than dancers! He used his Sony Cybershot DSC-HX20V, which is a small compact camera for all the photos.

Heaton Park

Heaton Park

For my first photoshoot, I went to Heaton Park in Manchester where my Mum remembered that the entrance to the Japanese Garden has a lovely ‘secret’ tunnel that not many people know about. It was just the start of winter, so the leaves were showing their autumnal colours, but it had been raining all week, and was starting to get quite cold. I had my ballet leotard and tights on underneath my tracksuit and coat, and was wearing my pointe shoes inside my black glittery wellies! When taking the photos, there were quite a few moments where we had to stop as people wanted to walk past us, and at these moments we had to try and look as normal as possible – while stood in my ballet leotard, ballet tights and pointe shoes! They must have thought it was very strange, and we did have quite a few people stopping and watching as they were having their Sunday stroll through Heaton Park! In this picture it was actually very muddy, cold (about 7 degrees Celsius), and the floor was very uneven. I was wobbling all around as I couldn’t get the platform (the ends) of my pointe shoes on an even part of the ground! However, I couldn’t have been more delighted with how this photo turned out (especially as I didn’t look at any of the photos until I got home, and so was very apprehensive that we had got a good image) and is definitely one of my favourites of all my #danceanywhere photos.

Lowry Bridge

Salford Quays

I would say that my next favourite #danceanywhere photo was taken at Salford Quays on the Detroit Footbridge (between the Huron and Erie Basins) which is in front of The Lowry and Media City. The day of this photo, I was already in Salford as I had just been at The Lowry participating in a workshop with Birmingham Royal Ballet – it was the first sunny and dry day that we had had in a long time, so I knew that it was the perfect day to take the photo. I had always liked this bridge and the view from it – I have frequently crossed it when walking from the Metrolink stop to The Lowry to watch a show, and have always felt tempted to dance across it rather than walk! So, after the workshop, my Dad and I sat in the foyer to The Lowry waiting for it to go darker and for the surrounding building to switch on their lights, then we decided to venture out to the bridge. Despite the sun having been shining all day, I had forgotten that it was very early February, the sun was now setting, and that we were by the waterside … and it was freezing and only about 5 degrees Celsius!

In the photo, I may just look like I am wearing my leotard and tights, however the truth is very much far from it – I was actually wearing three pairs of tights and a top underneath my leotard in an attempt to keep warm (but I am bare foot)! I left my coat and bag next to my Dad and ran into the middle of the shot, jumped whilst he took the photo, ran back to my Dad, quickly put my coat back on again and waited for the camera to process the images (the photos were taken on a continuous, very fast shutter speed mode, so the camera had to process them). This running back and forth was repeated about four times in total until I flicked through the photos and saw this image that I really liked. Needless to say, I quickly layered up again, we dashed back to the car as fast as possible to warm up and go home! We may have only been out there for about five minutes in total – but that was long enough in those temperatures!

Art Gallery Compilation

Bury Art Museum

 However, I really did enjoy my photoshoot at Bury Art Museum and Art Gallery. I have quite a few favourite images from here as it is such a beautiful building, and the architecture is magnificent. I remember going on school trips here when I was younger, and being from Bury myself, I thought it would be nice take some photos in my home town. This photo shoot, I am pleased to say, was the warmest of them all – no need for layers, coats, and running back to warmth! I contacted Bury Art Museum and Gallery who very kindly allowed me to use their building as the background for the photos, which I am very grateful for, and I was able to go in on a day when the Gallery was closed to the public (so no strange looks from poor unsuspecting passers-by either!).


Supermarket dancing!

My final favourite photo was taken at my local supermarket. I requested permission to use their shop from the manager, and while on our usual trip to the supermarket, took these pictures. Once again, I travelled around the shop with my pointe shoes on underneath my wellies. We picked the quietest aisle in the shop, but always stopped and tried to look as ‘normal’ as possible whenever people walked past the end of, or came into the aisle … hmmm … those tubs of mustard suddenly became a very interesting thing to have a discussion about …!


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