I was asked to photograph Melissa Hamilton
I was asked to photograph Melissa Hamilton at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden for a feature and front cover.It was to coincide with the “Black Swan” film with Natalie Portman. I’ve always loved dance from contemporary to ballet. My influence was my wife Karen who was training at the Place where I met her. I photographed her one grey Saturday morning. Melissa is the New Kid On The Block and is being hailed as the new Darcy Bussell. These guys work their arses off, sorry there’s no other way to put that.Ballet dancers are athletes and Melissa’s body is highly toned and firing on all cylinders. When I asked Melissa to leap for the camera she was a bit reticent at first having not warmed up. But as you see from the the photographs below it didn’t stop her. Melissa was great in front of camera, very easy to photograph and one gorgeous looking girl. She’s going to be a big star. Here’s a few photographs from the day.
The article below is from the Belfast Telegraph
Melissa Hamilton was just 17 years old when she was told to give up any hopes of being a ballerina.
Like many little girls who dreamed of pretty pointe shoes tied up with ribbons and fairy-tale tutu skirts, Melissa longed to follow in the graceful steps of Margot Fonteyn or Darcey Bussell.
Thankfully the Co Down girl was as resilient as she was talented and refused to listen to her detractors. She is now one of the UK’s brightest ballet stars and is being hailed as the new Bussell.
Melissa had already faced rejection from the Royal Ballet School the previous year, so when she was advised after 12 months at Elmhurst to forget about ballet she was able to take yet another setback on the chin. “I’m extremely stubborn and determined to succeed above anything else,” the Dromore girl said.
The daughter of a builder’s merchant and teacher, Melissa went to the Jennifer Bullick School of Dancing in Lisburn before taking up a scholarship at Elmhurst. Although she was told she had no future in ballet, her teacher in second year at Elmhurst, Masha Mukhamedov, thought differently.
In 2007 she entered Melissa into the Youth American Grand Prix, which she won. She then applied to the Royal Ballet and got offered a place.
The following year Melissa’s star began to rise when she was cast opposite Eric Underwood in Wayne McGregor’s Infra. The daring, sexy nature of the dancing made people take notice of her. She said: “The review for Infra kept asking ‘who is she?’ I was a complete unknown but I had no concept of how big an impact Infra would make.
“But it was a really good driving force at the early stage of my career to have something created on me. It was a new work, I was a new dancer. It was the perfect way of exposing me to audiences.”
Melissa, who is now 21, also danced in Mayerling and was the female lead in Agon. Now she is dancing all three works on Royal Ballet’s latest triple bill — Chroma, Tryst and Symphony in C. Stepping into Darcey Bussell’s famous shoes in Tryst, Melissa has naturally drawn comparisons with Britain’s first lady of ballet. But she wants to be judged on her own ability.
“You need to make your own stamp. You have to be who you are rather than what they want you to be. And I haven’t tried to be anyone else,” she said.