Georgia photographer’s work gets exposure at national dance shrine

Richard Calmes’ photographs of dancers have appeared in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a variety of Gwinnett County publications and national dance magazines, among many other media outlets.

Now, the Hiawassee photographer’s work is receiving some heightened exposure, in the recently opened exhibition “Dance Magic: The Photography of Richard Calmes,” at the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The 20-work exhibit will remain on view through April 2015.

The show includes some images from Calmes' third collection of dance photography, "Lines and Leaps," which he recently self-published. (Preview the entire 144-page hardcover, $139.50, at

Metro Atlanta performers are well-represented in the exhibit, including Alessandra Ball, Nancy Casciano, Abigrace Diprima (who graces the cover) and Maggie Ellington, all of whom honed their art at Gwinnett Ballet Theatre, and Amanda Farris of Georgia Ballet.

Dance photography is Calmes’ retirement hobby, but one that he approaches with great passion. Trained as an architect, he became intrigued by photography while serving in Vietnam in the late 1960s and bought his first of many Canon cameras at the PX.

Calmes left architecture a decade after returning home, but continued shooting pictures throughout a varied business career.

He started taking photos of dancers, both in the studio and outdoors (against the Atlanta skyline, at an automobile junkyard, in fountains, etc.), in 2005 at the request of his wife, Holley Calmes, who works in freelance dance marketing. Knowing that dance companies have tight budgets, he frequently provides his services for free, sometimes even paying his models.

He brings a bit of his architect’s eye to the sessions, drawing stick figures typically in action poses as a starting point. He and the dancers review his images on his laptop, discuss possible changes and try out new ideas on the spot.

“Every photo has a story behind it,” Calmes said at the opening reception. “I approach my work as a collaboration between myself and the dancers, so there is always more to a photograph than just a pose.”

More on the National Museum of Dance: 518-584-2225, To view more of Calmes' work:


History Center, Cyclorama observe Juneteenth

Falling as they do during observances of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act, upcoming Juneteeth events at the Atlanta History Center and the Cyclorama should take on special resonance this year.

  • The commemoration of emancipation from slavery in the U.S. will be observed at the history center 11 a.m.-4 p.m. June 21 and noon-5 p.m. June 22, with events including in-gallery performances, self-guided exhibition tours, music, genealogy workshops, storytelling and kid-friendly activities.

Guests can view more than 130 items chronicling African-American history and culture, including the Emancipation Proclamation, in “The Kinsey Collection” exhibit. There will be “Meet the Past” in-gallery performances both days (11 and 11:30 a.m. June 21; 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. June 22), including portrayals of history-making figures Ignatius Sancho and Phillis Wheatley.

In the Kennedy Theater (noon and 2 p.m. both days), museum-goers can take in “The Order of Freedom,” scripted by history center playwright Addae Moon, about a couple’s journey from slavery to citizenship.

Culinary historian Michael Twitty will give a talk, “The Cooking Gene: Tracing My African American Story Through Food,” at 3 p.m. June 22. And Sweet Auburn BBQ will have lunch items for sale both days.

Event and museum entry is free during Wells Fargo Free Admission Weekend. 130 W. Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta. 404-814-4000,

  • The Cyclorama's Juneteenth celebration, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. June 20, will include genealogy programs for youth and adults, a performance of "The Order of Freedom," appearances by Civil War reenactors from the 54th Massachusetts and children's activities.

Free admission includes viewings of the historic painting at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. Grant Park, 800 Cherokee Ave. S.E., Atlanta. 404-658-7625,


High Museum does Friday night ‘Remix’

With the recent switch of nights it stays open late from Thursdays to Fridays (now called Friday Night Lates), the High Museum of Art plans to present a more varied schedule of musical genres. Replacing Friday Jazz concerts, the new series, dubbed Friday Night Music Remix and presented every third Friday of the month, will feature jazz, blues, Latin music, bluegrass and more.

The monthly shows kick off 5-10 p.m. June 20, with the Georgia folk-jazz-blues duo Cicada Rhythm and folk artist/musician Lonnie Holley performing in the High's Robinson Atrium. Museum admission is half-price after 4 p.m. Fridays. 1280 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta.


Broadway intensive students hit the stage

The Broadway Dreams Foundation, a national performing arts education program, will complete a five-day musical theater intensive in Atlanta with the performance “Take It to the Limit: Defining Extraordinary” at 7:30 p.m. June 18.

Featuring the work of artists including film and theater choreographer Michele Lynch and the film-writing team of Drew Fornarola and Marshall Pailet, the show will take place at the Cobb Civic Center's Jennie T. Anderson Theater, 548 S. Marietta Parkway S.E., Marietta. Tickets, $25, via