In Bego Antón’s series Everybody Loves to ChaChaCha, she captures dog owners posing or dancing with their beloved furry friends. The project started while the Spanish photographer was doing a research project during a three-month artist residency at New York’s International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP). “I was surprised by how our relationships with animals are full of contradictions,” Bego says. “We love our pets but we hate some animals, like snakes or rats. We eat some of them, yet others we treat as family. As part of my research, I ended up watching a video on YouTube with Carolyn Scott and Rocky dancing to a song from Grease. I was captivated and decided to focus exclusively on musical canine freestyle.”
For those not in the know, musical canine freestyle is a choreographed performance in which a person and a dog move to music together. Classed as a modern dog sport it mixes obedience training, tricks and dance, and there are competitions across the world in countries including Canada, the US, Japan and the UK.
Wholesome and unapologetically kitsch, Bego captures the special relationships that have formed between her subjects and their dogs. Initially, Bego looked online for people to photograph, but soon she started working with people through word of mouth and built a network. With glittering waistcoats and sparkling collars many of her photographs see the owners mid-trick or posing like magicians’ assistants. But peppered through the series are more tender moments including a dog looking up in awe of its owner, or the women lying in her hallway, her dog perched on her chest.
“My goal wasn’t to document a new sport or make a typology of women and men dancing with their dogs, but rather to depict human behaviour and show the unimaginable bond and connection a human and an animal can have,” says Bego. “I feel I’ve discovered an activity where a human and an animal are at the same level as neither can happen without the other.”
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