Tuesday, June 14, 2011


In ballet, a pas de deux (French, steps of two) is a duet in which ballet dancers perform the dance together. It usually consists of an entrée, adagio, two variations (one for each dancer), and a coda.

Gerry and Jeri are jousting, but it seems they're right into dancing, and love performing for any appreciative audience.
Remember the beauty of  the pas de duex in Swan Lake as you watch what happens when they hit the dance floor!

"Hey Jeri, the tourists are coming! We better go practise our dance number. I'd like to get the steps worked out right. Let's gallop over and try a out a routine with this bunch of gawkers."

"Gerry, I think we need to do an impressive entrée like this! We gallop centre stage."

"Then we stand stock still until they settle down and pay attention!"


"Then we turn Gerry, gallop 10 steps to the rear."

"Then we turn, freeze, hold the step. Wait for my cue."

" Adagio now Gerry.
I pirouette, freeze, you hold your position while I half turn..."

"Together, turn to the left, hold for a 3 count.
You're doing well Gerry."

"Now Gerry, we do variations, free style, improvise if you want to."

"I'll swing into you...gently. Don't let me fall, Gerry."

"Great stuff Gerry. You're a solid dance partner."

"Come on Gerry, Move, do anything."

"That's cool Gerry, looking good!"

"Swing and finish."

" Now for the big finale Gerry. Swing with me Gerry."

"That looks cool Gerry, just swing into me, half turn, then dip."

"My turn. Stick with me, just follow my lead."

"When I say so, turn into me and dip!"

"We're doing great. The chorus dancers are coming in now Gerry."

"Way to go. You are such a cool dance partner!"

"OK, this is it. When I turn, stay with me for the perfect finish!"

"Voila! The perfect Cross to finish!"

"Hey Gerry. I think we done good.
The tourists are going crazy. I think we'll be kept on here!"

These are some of a series of photos taken last May of giraffe jousting at Nxai Pans National Park, Botswana. Juvenile males will play fight, developing their strength and forming dominance hierarchy in preparation for the real fight, as adults, to challenge the dominant breeding bull.
When reviewing the 40 photos I took of these two males, ballet Pas de deux sprang to mind - similarly as graceful.

We travelled with Russell Frankish of Greenbushpig Safaris , guide for Britz Rentals  self drive 4WD, 13 day tour of Botswana from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls and return. For more information check out those links, or contact me. A most exciting tour! 

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Ravenmyth said...

I love the photography...and the added choreography...how did you get them to move in perfect unison on command...now that is brilliant...

Corinne Rodrigues said...

Oh this is absolutely brilliant, Jim - the photographs and the captions! Thank you for sharing the wonder of your trip.

nomeradona said...

very nice images of giraffes. i like the gracefulness of them. Image 7 is like a optical illusion.

JIM said...

Love the photography and creativity Jim really great!!!
I love telling a story like this !!!


Dangerous Linda said...

amazing images, funny narration ;-) i don't think i ever really thought about the act of giraffes mating before -- seems awkward ...

Rachel Hoyt said...

That looks like an amazing experience! They seem blissful, not in pain. :)

Jim said...

Hi Raven, yes, took me a long time to teach those giraffe to perform on cue, but they got to grips with it easy. Natural performers!

Hi Corinne, glad you liked it. And writing it up this way was to subtly bring to our attention that wildlife like these has a beauty other than just looking at them. Africa's wilderness areas and its wildlife is disappearing at an alarming rate. We need to appreciate them and protect what's left.

@ Nomeradona, yes, a quick look at that photo can trick the mind. Their patterning, just like zebra is for that very purpose- camouflage!

Hiya JIM. Once more the esteemed photographer honours my puny photography efforts. I sure do appreciate the encouragement. Stick around- many more wonders to unveil here.

@ Linda, yeah it really isn't a mating dance, but 2 guys jousting, practicing for the eventual dominance contests. But I suppose courtship may follow a similar routine.

Hi Rachel, no pain, no gain they say. But sure they were playing, actual combat is real painful with a head swinging at you like that in full force.

Nelieta said...

I love the captions Jim! They are amazing animals!

Andrea said...

This is really beautiful, Jim! I love giraffes

Jim said...

Thanks Nelieta, giraffe and zebra are my favourite animal photography subjects. Doesn't matter what angle you shoot them from, the pics are always interesting.

Thanks Andrea, they are such a graceful animal. Glad you love them. I'm following your adventures also!

Jessica M said...

What beautifully majestic and seemingly graceful animals! I loved the pics!I also loved your captions too..an entertaining and edifying post to read and view. Thanks! :)

Idelish (Jeremy & Shirlene) said...

Wonderful photos! Must be an out of the world feeling to be in the presence of these amazing animals!

Matt Hope said...

Hahaha, great captions. Funny post! Giraffes are so interesting!

Christy @ Technosyncratic said...

This is so cute! Giraffes are my fav animals after elephants, and thinking of them dancing together is making me smile. :) Love the captions!

Nancie said...

Fantastic post Jim. Giraffes are my favorite!