Magazine article Dance Teacher

Erin Baiano: Dance Photographer

Magazine article Dance Teacher

Erin Baiano: Dance Photographer

Article excerpt

ERIN BAIANO discovered her new career the day her boss double-booked himself. Veteran dance photographer, Paul Kolnik had agreed to shoot New York City Ballet in Manhattan and to take pictures of Hairspray in Seattle on the same day. Before rushing to the airport, he gave his 25-year-old administrative assistant an express tutorial. "I had no interest in photography whatsoever," says Baiano, who had recently retired as a corps dancer with American Ballet Theatre. But as she crouched and aimed while taking pictures of NYCB, she realized she hadn't had such a good adrenaline rush since her dancing days. "Something clicked," she says, "and it wasn't just the camera."

Baiano left ABT in 2001 at age 24 because, she says, "I knew I had gone as far as I could go." After shooting NYCB for Kolnik, Baiano visited Career Transition For Dancers. She completed an extensive questionnaire and learned that independence and autonomy should be part of her next career. She bought a camera with half of a $1,000 grant from CTFD, and spent the rest on courses at the International Center for Photography. In 2005, she again covered for Kolnik, this time as arts section photographer for The New York Times. "Photographers have an intimate relationship with luck," says Baiano. And her first gig, shooting the Pennsylvania Ballet for the Pulitzer Prize-winning paper, was her lucky break. Since that day, her development into a professional photographer has skyrocketed. The Times arts section photo editor began sending the native New Yorker on assignments-sometimes booking her for five shoots in one week. …

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