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Photo exhibit to capture public dancing

Photo courtesy of Nick Fancher

She was obsessed with it: the movements, the artistry. To him, it was simply background noise and motion to evenings in their home.

But once Nick Fancher actually sat down and watched one of his wife’s favorite shows, “So You Think You Can Dance,” he discovered a new passion.

“She kind of explained who the couples were, who the choreographer was, what their style was, and I just kind of got caught up in it,” said Fancher, a 2005 Ohio State graduate with a degree in fine arts photography.

From that, a project spawned that would span two years, producing works that will be shown in his exhibit, Photokinesis, at Wild Goose Creative beginning Thursday.

“I knew I would never become a dancer or anything, but the closest I could ever get to (that) was maybe doing photography and just adding my element to what the dancers do,” Fancher said.

Karl Rogers, a dancer and graduate teaching assistant in the department of dance at OSU, credits Fancher’s openness for his success in dance photography.

“Whatever idea you might have, he’s interested in helping you cultivate your own image for yourself,” Rogers said.

Fancher’s shots can surpass the images envisioned by performers.

“I am always amazed at how drastically different Nick’s pictures look than I expect from what I saw of the shoot,” said Mara Penrose, a graduate student in dance at OSU. “He must do some sort of magic to them.”

With this new focus on performing arts came new challenges for Fancher.

“Photographing dancers was different than any kind of photography I’d done,” Fancher said. “I realized really quickly that it’s hard to capture the dynamic, the sport, the activity of dance in a still image.”

This meant Fancher had to discover ways to capture the motion of this art form.

“Without just taking every photo with a dancer in mid-air, it’s hard to show that they’re moving,” Fancher said. “So, then it became more about the bodies and the poses, or I would use multiple dancers so there could be lifts and stuff like that.”

Though Fancher was new to the dancing world, with little knowledge of its terminology, he did his best to direct the photo shoots.

“I would have them start dancing, and I would shoot,” Fancher said. “If I saw something I liked, I’d have them do it again. Sometimes I would just say, ‘hold that.'”

Fancher captured most of his shots outside the dance studio, in places ranging from Columbus sidewalks to abandoned libraries.

“I wanted to do specific locations to integrate that into each piece,” Fancher said.

For Rogers, who has been dancing for more than 10 years, the train tracks near his house served as the backdrop for his photographs.

“I asked if he (Fancher) would go on a little adventure with me,” Rogers said of the decision to shoot at the tracks, “and I really just fell in love with what he did.”

Some of the dancers featured in Fancher’s photographs will perform at the exhibit’s opening reception Thursday, said Beth Dekker, curator of Wild Goose Creative.

She said the gallery attempts to give young artists a boost in the right direction, as well as connecting them to other artists in the area.

“We use (our venue) in a million different ways,” Dekker said. “We try to provide really anything that they need.”

Fancher’s exhibit, Photokinesis, will run from April 21 through May 17 at Wild Goose Creative, located at 2491 Summit St.

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