Interview with a very professional! Claudia Toggweiler, ballerina, ballet teacher, ballet photographer and cultural manager

Claudia Toggweiler, one of the Top 10 most voted participants in the “Professional Ballet Photography, 2021” project has both ballet and entreprenorial background, also teaching ballet at the Zürich Dance Academy

by Mihaela Ivan
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Claudia Toggweiler studied dance at the Swiss Professional Ballet School under the direction of Heinz Spoerli and at the Academy of Classical Dance in Monte Carlo. She then got her Master degree at ZHdk and taught ballet at the Zürich Dance Academy.

Since that time she has been teaching ballet to adults in groups and privately. In 2016 she founded enScène in Zürich. It is an agency which focuses on culture management and dance photography.

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Claudia Toggweiler, one of the Top 10 most voted participants in the “Professional Ballet Photography, 2021” project

Following his successfully experience in “Professional Ballet Photography, 2021”, she kindly agreed to share some of his thoughts with Ballet Magazine community, that you can find below.

Who is Claudia Toggweiler? Please, introduce yourself in few words.

A former dancer, now a ballet teacher, ballet photographer, founder and CEO of the Agency enScène based in Zurich, Switzerland.

Why ballet photography?

The shape of human body in all it’s possibilities is the starting point but there is a big difference in the final intention of my work. It is not a mere research of the perfect shape but the purpose of transmitting the emotion behind it, the ephemeral, the evanescent. Using a different technique and perspective, signature of my photography, I put light on the dancer from an unexpected angle creating an intimate bond with the performer that goes beyond the movement, choreography and the dance itself. These are not just simple reproductions of a single figure but glimpses of beyond, a true form of art.

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What is, in your opinion, the most important thing in dance photography, generally speaking, and in ballet photography, in particular? The model, the context, the movement?

Thanks to photography we have the luck of experiencing shapes and  expressions of outstanding dancers from more than a century ago but today the purpose has to change. The intention of dance photography has to evolve; it can not stay limited to simple reportage but has to bring a whole multisensorial and emotional experience to the spectator. Finding a way to express so much more is the real challenge!

What would be your advice for a young ballerina who needs a portfolio? Is there a secret to success?

Light and setting are key elements for a good shooting, an experienced photographer with a good eye is essential… but we all know that dance is all about discipline and the real key to success is talent with an enormous amount of hard work. There is no photographer or filter that can make up for absence of it.

How important are contests for you? Do you think that the ”Professional Ballet Photography, 2021” competition, organized by Ballet Magazine helps to the popularity of that form of art?

The “Professional Ballet Photography, 2021” project has been an incredible opportunity of growth for both photographers and dancers from all around the world. It is a significant step, a learning experience and a healthy confrontation process.  “Professional Ballet Photography, 2021” is essential because it spreads dance and photography throughout a huge international network of artists as well as art lovers and by doing so, elevates the human spirit creating global unity that is needed now more than ever.

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