“I Am Dance: Words and Images of The Black Dancer,” by Hal Banfield, offers an intimate encounter with the world of dance through the lens of 20 black dancers.
In it, Banfield showcases dance styles such as ballet, jazz, contemporary, tap, voguing and more while including interview commentary with the dancers along with high-quality images illustrating the intensity of their craft.
“Each of the dancers brings something very special to the book,” Banfield said. “What I do love overall is their ability to be vulnerable enough to be able to share their truths about dance and pair that with their ability to help create dynamic and artistic photos.”
As a former dancer, it was important for Banfield to provide representation.
“I didn’t see many dancers that looked like me in my early years growing up in Canada doing what I loved,” Banfield said. “I wanted to showcase all forms of dancers so people can see themselves reflected back to themselves with a sense of inspiration and aspiration.”
Inspiration for the book came from a documentary film about the life of Misty Copeland.
“As I watched the film, I started reflecting on my own background as a professional dancer and wondered what today’s dancers of color have to endure to find any level of success,” Banfield said. “I wanted to give black dancers an opportunity to be heard as well as seen.”
“I Am Dance” offers new insight into the world of dance from the perspective of black dancers and will no doubt speak to anyone who appreciates the performing arts, particularly dance, as well as fine art photography.
“Because everyone’s journey is unique to them, ‘I Am Dance’ is an affirmation into declaring yourself and owning your personal experience,” Banfield said. “It activates readers to consider their own passion, be they artistic or otherwise, with a sense of pride in the tenacity of the spirit and the beauty of black people and black bodies.”
In addition to being an author and photographer, Banfield works as a multimedia producer for Center Theatre Group. He lives in West Hollywood.
For more information about Banfield and his work, visit halbanphotography.com.
“I Am Dance: Words and Images of The Black Dancer” is available for $60 on iamdance.com and amazon.com.