Dance Teacher Joe DeMers | Denver Headshot Photographer

Sutton Anker interviewed Joe DeMers for Presenting Denver’s In the Spotlight series. To accompany the interview, I took Joe’s headshots at Presenting Denver’s headquarters. Joe first fell in love with dance as a senior in high school, when he decided to take social dance classes to prepare for his senior prom. It was through that class that he found a new interest and a community. Even though he didn’t study dance in college, he used that time to learn social dance, attend conferences, and compete.

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“His interest in learning more about the social components of dance led Joe to develop the emergent form of Drag Blues. Joe does not, however, take the credit or consider himself to be the almighty creator of Drag Blues. ‘If anything, I am standing on the shoulder of giants thinking, hey, I’m gonna take this movement, this one, (and) this one and put them together.’ Joe listed some specific styles and elements of dance such as Jookin’, Savoy Slow Drag, Strut, Lindy Hop, and more. He suggests that his contribution lies in amalgamating certain qualities of these various dances, with the result of Drag Blues. When Joe attended a competition with a friend and, to his surprise, won the entire competition with a Savoy-style Drag Blues, he realized he needed to learn more about what he had started.”

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Joe is incredibly passionate about the history of dance, the dance community, and the different styles of social dance. When he changed careers from a science teacher to a dance teacher in the public school system, his passion for dance and its history was reignited. A year after he started his job as a full time dance teacher, Joe won Colorado Dance Teacher of the Year and National Dance Teacher of the Year. “Joe’s passion for dance, desire for community relationships, and enthusiasm for teaching is changing lives for the better.”

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Looking for a relaxed, fun headshot experience, with a lot of character? Contact me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

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Park Hill Dancer Portraits | Denver Dance Photography

Today is Dance Teachers Appreciation Day! I wanted to do a spotlight on a dance studio and a dance teacher I love: Park Hill Dance Academy! Last year, I photographed Park Hill Dance Collective. Here are the awesome dance portraits from that session.

More recently, I took portraits of all of the older students at Park Hill Dance Academy. It was a chilly day, but they were all such troopers and their portraits turned out wonderfully!

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This is Karlyn, the mastermind behind Park Hill Dance Academy. She is a truly wonderful person and she runs an amazing dance studio.

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Do you remember the maternity dance session I did on the beach? This little cutie is the “bump” from those photos! The dance students totally adore her and love having her around the studio.

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Looking for engaging portraits of you or your company? Contact me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

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6 Gift Ideas for Dance Teachers | Denver Dance Photography

Dance Teacher Appreciation Day is next Wednesday! Dance teachers work hard. Show your gratitude with these fun gift ideas. Below are seven gift ideas, from personal gifts to gifts from your whole class.

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Spa Day: Your dance teacher works hard and puts a lot of wear on their body. Treat them to a relaxing day at the spa or bring the spa to them. You can get them a gift card to a spa, like the Woodhouse Day Spas in Denver or DragonTree Spa in Boulder.

If you’re the crafty DIY type, you can make your own spa gift basket. Get some massage oils, lotions, bath bombs, and lots of Epson Salt. A dancer can never have too much Epson Salt.

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Leg Warmers: If you’re good at crocheting, handmade leg warmers is a very thoughtful gift for your dance teacher. Find out their favorite colors and make a pair they’ll love! Here are a bunch of free crochet patterns to get you started.

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Dance tickets: Gift your favorite dance teacher a night out. Get them a pair of tickets to a dance show they’ll love. The Newman Center in Denver always has a great season filled with dance companies from all over. There are tons of great local companies as well from Colorado Ballet to Cleo Parker  Robinson.

Dance Books: Misty Copeland’s “Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina
American Dance: The Complete Illustrated History by Margaret Fuhrer
Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet by Jennifer Homans

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Music: What dancer doesn’t love music? Getting your favorite teach a nice pair of headphones, a speaker set, or a subscription to Spotify Premium is a great way to give them the gift of music.

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Creative Session: A dance photography session can be a fantastic way to show your dance teacher how much you admire them. This gift not only shows them that you think they’re great, it shows them that you think their creativity is worth celebrating and showing off. Especially if your teacher doesn’t perform as much as they used to, a photo session is a ton of fun and a great way to get creative and “perform” in an out of the box way. I offer Denver and Boulder dance photography as well as session gift cards. Click here to find out more about creative dance sessions.

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Want to celebrate your creativity or honor someone else’s? Find out more about Creative Sessions and email me at jamie@jamiekraus.com. I would love to help tell your story through dance and photography.