Photographers Up in Arms After Being Banned From Dance Contest

Photographers in Minnesota have been left reeling after being banned from dance tournaments. The league has hired its own photographers whose pictures will be available to purchase by the public.

The Minnesota State High School League (MSHL) made the decision to stop photographers from shooting the postseason high school dance competition and local photographers say they were blindsided.

“I shoot action photos at all their comps and give them to the parents and coaches for free,” Cobey Rouse tells CBS News.

“The photo I took of my daughter in the state for her last leap in jazz, her last time dancing. That was my favorite photo. That’s the gift that I feel like we give to a lot of these athletes, and that is being taken away.”

Rouse is contracted by high school dance teams to capture the action throughout the season but less than 24 hours before the season’s peak the MSHL banned him and his colleagues.

“The night before the event, photography was revoked. There was no reason given,” adds photographer Alyssa Kristine who is a former dancer and whose main photography focus is dance.

“One of my clients I think has 18 seniors, like almost half of their team, and they didn’t qualify for state and they don’t have any photos of their last dance, period.”

Kristine shoots photos and video but the MSHL informed her that she could only shoot video from a restricted area and she’s not allowed to take any photos.

“I would be relegated to ‘video only’ in a designated performance chair on the floor. I could not shoot anything from the bleachers,” Kristine tells Fox 9.

“I could shoot performances only up to three minutes and then the camera had to be turned off, and I had to exit and sit in the general admission area.”

The dancer-turned-photographer laments the fact some of the kids performing will do so for the last time and none of it will be immortalized in a photograph.

Fox 9 spoke to two seniors, Alexis Laramy and Riley Wolf, who were devastated there won’t be any pictures of them.

“To not have any of that footage, none of the hugs, none of the talks before and after: Those are the moments that I look back on and are some of my favorite moments. To not have that captured my senior year was really disappointing,” Wolf says.

“It was honestly like shocking and disappointing just because [Alyssa Kristine] had been with us through this whole season,” says Laramy of her team photographer.

The dancers added that their parents tried to take photos but — as to be expected — they didn’t capture it the way a pro would.

“Alyssa is able to capture moments that we also like to watch back in order to make sure that we all look alike and we’re all in sync and that we’re all doing what we can in a more competitive team,” says dancer Camryn McNeal.

“What she does she doesn’t do like anyone else, which is why she is so credited in the community.”

A league spokesperson said that the dance team will have the chance to select a team video operator to film their routine, adding that it employs its own photographers whose photos are available for the public to purchase.

Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.