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Dance Warriors – Oil | Denver Dance Photography

The Dance Warriors project is an artistic response to political and social issues, in collaboration with dancers across the country. This project started as my response to our changing political climate and my desire to make an impact for the better. This is my way to use Denver dance photography to raise awareness about the issues that face us today.

This was the first session I did locally, in Colorado. For months, I drove past the Suncor oil refinery a few days a week. It’s very visible from the highway. Something about it intrigued me. It looked so cool, industrial, grungy, even beautiful, but it also made me sad. It may look beautiful but it’s function wasn’t. Knowing what it was and the harm it was doing to us and the environment made it frustrating to see every time I drove home. Knowing that there are better ways to create the energy we need but that those methods are being suppressed and blocked so these companies can stay in business, without the need to change or innovate. That was hard to deal with. And seeing this symbol of that damage so close to the city I call home was difficult too.

I knew this had to be the location of the next installment of the Dance Warriors project. Jessie Westbrook is a dancer, choreographer, and model. She contacted me about this project and was very passionate about the idea. Read on for more about her and her thoughts on the oil industry, plus the photos!

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Tell me a bit about yourself.

I have been dancing for 21 years. I’m trained in ballet, pointe, modern, contemporary, jazz, house, and bboy.  I love to spend my free time in the outdoors, hiking, camping, anything that brings me outside. We have a 5-year-old boarder collie aussie mix who is our ever loyal adventure buddy. I teach dance to kids and teens and hope to have my own dance company one day.

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Why are you passionate about the oil industry?

Even though I don’t know much about the oil industry I feel very passionate about changing it because I grew up hearing about the effects of global warming and now we are starting to see it. It is becoming very real and it strikes a huge chord with me when people continue to turn and look the other way, motivated by greed or manipulated by corporations.

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How has dance helped you express yourself? 

Dance has helped me find a way to express myself when words have failed. It has helped me through the hardest years of my life and has been a platform of communication and change. Dance is a part of who I am, helps me find direction and purpose, and empowers me to do the things that I didn’t think I could.

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What do you think is the intersection between art and politics?

Art is a platform to express any message that one feels is important. It is a different type of voice, one that commands a thought process, a conversation.

 

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Want engaging dance photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? Want to be a part of the Dance Warriors project? Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

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PD Dance Festival First Look | Denver Dance Photography

The Presenting Denver Dance Festival, presented with the Robert and Judi Newman Center was a huge success! I’ve been part of an amazing team of volunteers helping to make this festival a reality for the past two years or so. Even with all the work we had done leading up to the festival, I did not expect to sell out every show in our inaugural year! But that’s just what we did. Each show was packed with people and we got wonderful feedback. 

The two day festival consisted of two different shows, the “New and Now” showcase and the “No Walls” concert, with 15 local dance companies and eight brand new world premieres. All the performers were absolutely incredible! There was such a great mix of styles and emotions and the flow of the shows was perfect. Any performance that can make you laugh and cry and stare in awe, all in the same show is pretty amazing in my book! I was so impressed by how it all came together.

I’ll be sharing most of the images from the festival in the months leading up to the 2020 Presenting Denver Dance Festival (mark your calendars!), so you’ll have to be patient if you want to see them. I am just too excited to share these photos though, so you get a special sneak peek in the meantime. Keep scrolling for a few photos from the New & Now showcase as the first look at our first festival ever! 

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Credits (in photo order):
Schiff Dance Company
Edgar L. Page
Kristen Demaree
Chadesh Contemporary Dance Movement
Hannah Kahn Dance Company
Helanius J. Wilkins
Gregory Gonzales
Moripovida Contemporary Dance

Want engaging production photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

Denver’s Dance Festival | Denver Dance Photography

I am so excited for the Presenting Denver Dance Festival that is happening this weekend! I have been working with an amazing group of volunteers to make this festival happen, for about two years. Now, it’s finally here! The dance festival will take place on June 23-24, 2018 at The Robert and Judi Newman Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Denver. Together with the Newman Center, we will be presenting 15 local choreographers over 2 stages in one weekend of great Colorado dance.

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On the free, outdoor stage, see works by Colorado artists David Taylor’s Zikr Dance Ensemble, Mary Lynn Lewark, Maureen Breeze Dance Theater, Nile H. Russell, Nu-World Contemporary Danse Theatre, Parasol Arts, and Thomas Dance Project in the No Walls concert. This concert is free and open to all ages. View details about the artists here. The No Wall concert is this Saturday, June 23, at 4:30pm at The Boettcher Center Lawn on the University of Denver campus.

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On the main stage, see new works by Colorado artists Chadash Contemporary Dance Movement, Edgar L. Page, Gregory Gonzales, Hannah Kahn Dance Company, Helanius J. Wilkins, Kristen Demaree, Moraporvida Contemporary Dance, and The Schiff Dance Collective in the New & Now concert. View details about the artists here. The New & Now concert is this Saturday, June 23, at 7pm and Sunday, June 24, at 2pm. These shows will take place in the Newman Center’s Byron Theatre. Get your tickets online or at the Newman Center Box Office.

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These photos are from a session we did to prepare for the festival. They’ve been used in the marketing materials to promote the festival, encourage dancer applications and sell tickets to the main stage performance.

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Want engaging production photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com

Dance Warriors – Climate Change | Chicago Dance Photography

The Dance Warriors project is an artistic response to political and social issues, in collaboration with dancers across the country. This project started as my response to our changing political climate and my desire to make an impact for the better. This session took place just a few weeks after Trump won the 2016 presidential election.

I usually try to schedule a photography session when I visit home over Thanksgiving break. This time, I knew I wanted to do a Dance Warriors session in a particular part of Chicago. There were a couple of old coal plants that were set to be demolished and I thought they would be the perfect backdrop for a session about climate change. This is a topic that Kelleigh McIntosh is very passionate about, and we were able to connect thanks to the power of the internet. At our session, we talked a lot about climate change deniers and the negative impact they can have on the planet, especially when they are in positions of power. The fact that the coal plants were coming down was a sign of change for the better but the recent election left us less than hopeful for the future.

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Tell me a bit about yourself.

Kelleigh Harman McIntosh graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in Dance and Biology. She has performed works choreographed by Taylor Craver, Kiefer Otto, and J Lindsay Brown Dance. Kelleigh’s passion for choreography began to grow after premiering her work “Phantasmagoria” at the American College Dance Association. Since then, she has had the opportunity to present work at Eisenhower Dance’s New Dance Festival, choreograph for “Goliath” a dance film produced by Ben Richmond and work with Esoteric Dance Company through their choreographic mentorship program. Her goals as a choreographer include using movement as a vessel to explore an individual’s physical and emotional limitations through a collaborative process.

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Why are you passionate about climate change?

Our environment is important. Its health and stability majorly influence access to basic human needs such as fresh water and sustainable food sources. Although scientists and climatologists are able to convey research of environmental concerns, those messages are not always heard or understood.

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What do you think is the intersection between art and politics?

Dancers have the unique ability to communicate through a different type of physical and artistic voice. It is my hope that artists are able to spread information about climate change to a larger audience and promote the movement to heal our planet.

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Want engaging production photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? Want to be a part of Dance Warriors? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

Dance Warriors – Gentrification | New York Dance Photography

I am so excited to finally share these photos! This is the very first session of my new project Dance Warriors! Dance Warriors is an artistic response to political and social issues, in collaboration with dancers across the country. These photos were actually taken over a year ago, but now that the project has been announced, I can show you the first photo shoot!

Anna Rogovoy and I know each other from Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. We both worked in the marketing department when I was an intern at the festival. Anna has been using dance to explore a lot of social and political issues. For this session, she wanted to focus on gentrification. We took photos in her neighborhood, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, as well as in her apartment.

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Tell me a bit about yourself.

My name is Anna Rogovoy and I’m a dancemaker and performer. My early training was in classical ballet, but I made a shift to contemporary/modern/postmodern technique/methodologies when I attended Bennington College for my undergraduate degree. I have lived in Brooklyn, New York for about five years and have presented my work throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan as well as upstate New York, Massachusetts, and Vermont. I am the child of entrepreneurial arts professionals and the older sister of a producer/DJ. And I am the great-granddaughter of an incredibly powerful woman who emigrated (alone) to New York City from a small village in Poland, narrowly escaping execution.

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Why are you passionate about gentrification?

Gentrification is something that I reckon with daily as a white person living in a predominantly non-white neighborhood — one that is rapidly undergoing transformation. It’s my home, it’s a mile away from where my mother was born, yet I am a newcomer, perhaps even an unwelcome one. Displacement and ghettoization are familiar concerns, having grown up with stories of the Holocaust, and I don’t want to be complicit in anything remotely like that.

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How has dance helped you express yourself?

My work deals very directly with the body as source material; I am interested in how movement patterns and habits emerge and shift, in how memory and sensation inhabit form. I hope that by turning the lens towards the body I can highlight our shared experiences as thinking beings housed in smart, curious flesh-bags. I have also found great freedom and power as a survivor of sexual assault in reclaiming agency over my own body through performance and physical training.

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What do you think is the intersection between art and politics?

I think that because artists so often work outside of a political and/or capitalist regime, we are able to put forth opinions and assessments that someone whose success relies on a more conventional power structure might hesitate to voice. In the same way that we are not supported by our government or our corporations, we are released from supporting them, or claiming to. We ask questions that others cannot.

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Want engaging production photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? Want to be a part of Dance Warriors? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

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New Project! | Dance Warriors

I’ve launched an exciting new dance photography project. It’s an artistic response to political and social issues, in collaboration with dancers across the country. The project is called Dance Warriors!

In the last few years, like many people, I have become more tuned in to what is going on in our country and in our world. As I’ve become increasingly aware of political and social issues, I have strived to make change happen. However, I’ve also felt overwhelmed and helpless at times. It seemed that every day I would wake up to another tragedy and it was difficult to focus my efforts. What could I alone do to make an impact?

At the same time, I started to feel less creative and less motivated to make my art. I knew I needed to do something to respond to what was happening around me and dance photography had to be the medium. I began this project to shed light on political issues that affect all of us.

I started by reaching out to dancers who wanted their voices to be heard. In most cases, the dancer chooses an issue they feel passionately about. Each session highlights a different issue, expressed by the location and the dancer’s movements.

So far, I’ve photographed three dancers for three different social and environmental issues. And in three different cities too! Here’s a sneak peek at the Dance Warrior series to date. If you are a dancer who is interested in participating in Dance Warriors, please email me at jamie@jamiekraus.com with the issues you are most passionate about and a photo of yourself dancing.

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Jessie Westbrook in Denver – Oil Industry

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Anna Rogovoy in New York City – Gentrification

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Kelleigh Harman in Chicago – Climate Change

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Kelleigh on Climate Change

Anna on Gentrification

Jessie on the Oil Industry – coming soon

Andrea on Holistic Health – coming soon

Want engaging dance photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

Park Hill Dance Collective in the Rain | Denver Dance Photography

Denver weather can change in an instant, which can make planning sessions a bit tricky. But I love Denver dance photography in all kinds of weather. I had a creative session with Park Hill Dance Collective planned for a Sunday in the Fall at City Park. A half hour before the session, Karlyn called me because it was pouring out. She knew her company dancers would be fine with dancing in the rain but we had also scheduled headshots for her youth company at the same session and she didn’t want the kids to get soaking wet and catch colds. We almost moved this session to a dryer location at the last minute but I am so glad we didn’t. We missed all the downpours and just had a light mist the whole time. Plus there were plenty of overhangs to duck under and places to run in to stay warm.

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This rainy, foggy day proved to be quite beautiful for our creative session with Park Hill Dance Collective. We did the last Collective shoot a few years ago, and they needed some updated portraits and photos from their new pieces. City Park is an awesome location to do a session of any kind. For Park Hill, it was perfect since it’s just a few blocks away from their studio. Karlyn and the company have always been very connected to their neighborhood, so I’m so glad we were able to incorporate that into our session this time.

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City Park has some great natural areas, but being the city kid that I am, I always gravitate toward the architectural features. We started out behind the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, where there is a super cool sculpture (I’m a sucker for public art!) and some fun windows. The male dancers could only stay for the first part of the session, so the ladies and I had some fun at the end. We went down to the lake, where there is this lovely little retaining wall and a great view of the fountain and boathouse. I thought we might get some epic skyline views too, but by the time we got there the fog was so thick, you couldn’t see the buildings anymore! I think we got some pretty epic photos none-the-less.

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I had to include this blooper, just for fun!

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Want engaging production photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com