Thursday, October 3, 2013

Weiferd Watts: a Dancer’s Form. Tribute to a beloved photographer

Weiferd Watts in his studio.  photo credit: Marvin Collins

Weiferd Watts passed away in 2010. Since then the library has been collaborating with the local dance community to exhibit a small collection of the photographs that tied Weiferd and the dancers together.

Three years ago I picked up In Dance magazine and read an obituary for Weiferd Watts written by a local dancer, Greta Schoenberg.  I got in touch with Greta hoping to curate an exhibit of Weiferd Watts’ work at the library.  This was easier said than done as Weiferd’s largest body of work was not readily available.  A group of dancer’s, including Greta, Selena Chau and Laura Serghiou put out a call to the local dance community for photographs that Weiferd had given to the dancers over the years. These photographs were gathered together and the Art, Music and Recreation Center, with invaluable assistance from the Exhibitions Department, curated the exhibit that is now on view on the 4th floor of the main library in the Music Center.
For over twenty-five years photographer Weiferd Watts captured an incredible array of dancers and athletes from around the US and abroad. He became a well-known fixture in the Bay Area dance community and counted among his subjects dancers from America’s top companies. Removed from the traditional setting of the stage, the intimate portraits he created required the eye of a choreographer. Without any dance training, he would contort his body in an attempt to demonstrate his visions for movement, which were then interpreted by his subjects, yielding extraordinary results. His vast body of work represents several generations of artists captured in magical, elusive moments created through collaborative experiments and pure serendipity.
Weiferd’s work captured the fleeting presence of a generation of dancers from our community and documented a unique collaborative process between two disciplines. Dance and photography were his passions and both fields will mourn his early loss for years to come. Let us enjoy what he left behind.
The exhibit will run from September 21st, 2013 through January 2nd, 2014

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