Most helpful positive review
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2012
Full Disclosure: I've known Jordan since 2005. I was happy to assist him on a few shoots for Dancers Among Us, brainstorming ideas, and trying to get every dancer I knew to work with him. If you believe that taints my ability to give a decent review, I suppose I understand. But I'd argue I'm the perfect person to give a review because I can promise you that these pictures are real. The sweat, passion, and commitment of each dancer is real. The sheer talent of the photographer is real. And the power of this book is real.
Even being close to this project, I was in no way prepared for how completely this book would consume me once I finally had it in my hands. I looked at the website dozens of times, I saw some of these shoots first hand, and there were still images that were new, that surprised me, made me laugh, and some that took my breath away. I stayed awake for several hours getting completely lost in each page, feeling my heart swell. Even if I spent some time thinking, "Oh, I wish I looked like that" (these bodies are amazing!), I spent more time thinking, "Oh, I've felt like that." The situations in the book are so recognizable and are divided into sections depicting things we all do: Dream, Love, Play, Explore, Grieve, Work, and above all, Live.
Jordan has included background stories for several pictures, and anecdotes from his own life so you can see how personal and heartfelt the creation of this book was. The pictures would be remarkable on their own, but it is so much more meaningful to know how much went into devising each shot - or how some of them seemingly created themselves. I can say it was a privilege to witness the enthusiasm, dedication, and courage of these dancers firsthand. I watched Carrie Nicastro jumping off the side of Buckingham Fountain over 200 times during the course of almost 2 hours (page 36). Marissa Horton didn't think twice before stripping down and jumping into Lake Michigan in October when we suggested a nighttime skinny-dip (page 78). Erin Clyne leaped across active train tracks with the Northbound Metra train speeding towards her (page 172). Kara Lozanovski rolled herself in oily, gritty asphalt (page 148). Over and over again dancers volunteered, saying, "Yes!" or "I'll try!" or "What if...?". Improvising, thinking on their feet, and all the time willing to give their all just to share their love for dance. This book is a testament to humankind's best potential for creativity, spontaneity, and collaborative spirit.
I remember a lecture from an art history class about the difference between photography and painting; the gist was that photography captures a moment as it is and painting captures a moment as it could be. With "Dancers Among Us" Jordan and his amazing team of dancers manages to do both. These images freeze a single moment in time - some of them as mundane as sitting on a park bench, crossing the street, or drinking a cup of coffee - but fill it with all of the life, emotion, and power that sits, too often unseen, inside each of us.