Montreal-born Michael Slobodian graduated from Concordia University with a BA in Communication Studies, and shortly after became a studio assistant and manager for a commercial photographer. He has been a professional photographer working in Montreal since 1984. He has developed a commercial practice shooting for advertising agencies, record companies, direct clients as well as portraits, and his love of dance has led him to work with many dancers and companies in Canada and abroad. His work has been published in Canada and abroad in commercial brochures, magazines, posters, books and web sites. He has exhibited his dance images at various venues in Canada and abroad and his work has been described by colleagues as having a romantic, poetic quality.
For Slobodian the ideal dance image articulates the explosive quality of the motion and the physical intensity of the dancer, but above all else, it documents with conviction the fierce commitment of these artists. Equally at ease in the studio or on the set, he prefers the excitement of live performance in which compositional questions must be resolved quickly, under less-than-perfect conditions.
Recently he has delved into the field of video and has collaborated with dance choreographers to create visual landscapes for their works. A critic described his projected video imagery as enhancing the dance where so often such effects are a distraction. His short video Multiplicity was presented at the 2006 Vancouver International Film Festival, the 2007 Festival International des Films sur l'Art in Montreal and the 2007 online Portable Film Festival in Australia.
Michael continues to work in the commercial photography field and pursues his love of the dance image.
Vincent Warren : A Personal Collection - Celebrated Through the Photography of Michael Slobodian
Vincent Warren is a man who has devoted his entire life to dance. It's easy to throw around a phrase like that but there are few who have so thoroughly filled their lives with every aspect of dance: performance, study, teaching and mentorship, writing and collecting. Vincent's insatiable quest for knowledge about dance has led to a legacy that few can match.
Originally from Jacksonville, Florida, Vincent Warren's dance career, which had included companies in the United States and France, brought him to Canada to dance with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in 1961. He became one of the company's stars dancing the classics of ballet as well as contemporary works by Fernand Nault and Brian Macdonald, among others. He retired from the stage in 1979 performing Adieu Robert Schumann choreographed for him by Macdonald for his farewell. But ballet was never the only dance genre that caught his interest; he had been involved in the postmodern dance of New York's Judson Church in the 1960s and in the experimentation that occurred in Montreal at Le Groupe de la Place Royale beginning in 1966. After his performing career, he became an inspiring teacher for students at L'École supérieure de danse du Québec where his classes did not merely focus on the physical and the technical but provided students with the rich history behind the movement, the stories of dance and the motivations of its artists.
Vincent's love of knowledge, art and beauty led to collecting: books, art works, decorative arts … In 1980, he began working in the library at L'École supérieure de danse du Québec - a library that had started with a donation of books and papers from Danish émigré and Montreal-based teacher and choreographer Elizabeth Leese and from critic Marcel Valois. Vincent continued to develop the collection so that, in addition to its book collection, it included periodicals, video material and the archival papers of Quebec dance artists. Over time, he donated thousands of books from his personal collection eventually creating the largest dance library in Canada, which now boasts an inventory of over 25,000 books. In 2010, the library was renamed La Bibliothèque de la danse Vincent-Warren.
Ever multi-dimensional in his dance interests, he is also an authority on classical Indian dance, publishing papers and lecturing internationally on the topic. Vincent has received numerous honours and awards including a Dance in Canada Service Award, the Queen's Jubilee Medal and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Prix Denise Pelletier, and the Order of Canada; he is also a lifetime honorary member of the Canadian Society for Dance Studies.
Vincent Warren's Montreal apartment, which hosted so many dancers and dance professionals over the decades, was a little museum in itself - its shelves lined with books, photographs, statuettes and memorabilia; its walls adorned by paintings, posters and 8x10s given to Vincent by friends and colleagues over a lifetime in dance. In 2013, Vincent had to move from his apartment. Dance Collection Danse sent renowned photographer Michael Slobodian to record a moment in history, a life in dance … a personal collection.