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Choreographer Kat Gurley | Denver Outdoor Headshots

Kat Gurley is the Artistic Director of Wild Heart Dance, a dance company based in Boulder, Colorado. I first met when I photographed her show, The Beloved at Naropa University’s Performing Arts Center. More recently, I got to collaborate on a promotional session with them late last year. Kat was also selected to be a part of Presenting Denver’s In the Spotlight, so I had the chance to take a few Denver outdoor headshots for that.

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Erika Weiss interviewed Kat and wrote a piece of her for Presenting Denver’s website. You can read the whole article here. I love getting to take these head shots because it usually means I get introduced to new people in the dance world. And when I get to photograph people I already know, like in this case, I get to learn more about them through their articles.

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Choreographer Kat Gurley | Denver Outdoor Headshots

Kat is originally from Boston and has a varied background is dance and movement. She is trained in everything from ballet to martial arts and West African dance to yoga. She doesn’t just create dance performances, she makes movement masterpieces. The promo session we did was focused on the art of falling. It’s not often that you see dancers take risks like that and tap into the athleticism of dance in new ways. It’s so exciting to see such creativity in the local arts scene!

Another new thing I learned about Kat, is that she gets all her funding through crowd sourcing. Her work is funded as it’s being created rather than waiting for grants to start making new works. She relies on her patrons who are invested in her company and excited to see new works. I love that Colorado has cultivated an culture that appreciates art and invests in it!

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

Revolutions | Denver Dance Photography

I have been photographing Park Hill Dance Collective and Academy for a number of years now. When their yearly production, an evening of pieces performed by the Collective dancers and Academy dancers, was approaching they asked if I could photograph is. I love Denver dance photography and I really wanted to see and photograph this show, but I knew I would be out of town on the dates they needed me.

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That’s when Amanda came in! Amanda Tipton and I work together a lot throughout the year. Anytime, one of us cannot photograph a show or event, we call up the other one to help us out. Amanda was able to be my associate photographer for the event. She photographed the show, then sent the photos to me to edit and deliver. This works out really well because my clients don’t have to deal with a new business, new contracts, or new pricing. And their events are still covered even if I’m unavailable. Plus, I only hire associates I trust to photograph at the same level as my own work.

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I really wish I had been in town the see this show myself! Looking through the photos to edit them was so much fun because I was really seeing this work for the first time. It looks like an amazing show! I always love how Park Hill combines their studio and company dancers into one performance.

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I also thought it was really cool that the male dancers wore long, red skirts in one of the pieces. I was talking to another male dancer last year who was upset that there are so few opportunities men have to dance in flowing clothing. He felt that a big part of the movement could be missing with tight-fitting clothes. So, I was so excited to see the whole company, men and women, in flowing skirts during this production!

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Park Hill Dance Collective performing Revolutions
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Denver kids perform in Revolutions dance showcase
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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.

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Dancer Luciana Da Silva | Denver Dancer Headshots

I’ve talked a lot about my work for Presenting Denver. One of my roles there is to take Denver dancer headshots. Each year, Presenting Denver chooses dance artists in the Denver metro area to feature in their In the Spotlight series. I take headshots for many of them to be used alongside an interview. 

In the past, I’ve taken dance photos of members of the dance community that Presenting Denver features as part of their In the Spotlight series. This season, I took headshots for the spotlights, as well as the ambassadors for the organization. We did these portraits on the rooftop of the Beauvallon building, where the Presenting Denver offices are located. This location gave us some wonderful spots, with nature, architecture, and beautiful views of the city.

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One of the featured artists from the season was Luciana Da Silva. After moving to the United States from Brazil, Luciana didn’t initially think of herself as a dancer. After training on her own in belly dance and flamenco, she started looking for ways to honor her own culture and rediscovered Brazillian dance. Luciana now performs and teaches Brazilian dance, specifically samba, which celebrates femininity, and forró, a fast paced partner dance. 

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Luciana is focused on teaching the culture and history behind each dance form, not just the dance itself. She feels they are inextricably linked and cannot be learned separately. “Women want the glamorous look of samba with the feathers and bikini, and to become this feminine, sensual goddess. Couples want the high energy and intricate partnering of forró. But it’s helpful to have cultural understanding.”

Read Luciana’s interview with Rebekah West, for Presenting Denver’s In the Spotlight series here: http://presentingdenver.org/in-the-spotlight-2017/luciana-da-silva/

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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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Dance Warriors – Holistic Health | Boulder 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 Boulder dance photography to raise awareness about the issues that face us today.

I have done a few session where I chose the topic and found a dancer after deciding on the topic, location, and all the details. However, my vision for this project has always been the opposite. My goal with Dance Warriors was to let the project be a space where dancers can collaborate with me to express what they are most passionate about. That was how we approached this session.

Andrea Jayne Martin reached out to me, wanting to be a part of Dance Warriors and the topic she was most passionate about was Holistic Health. My gut reaction was hesitation. You see, I am really passionate about science. I have a Bachelor’s of Science, I’ve always loved biology and physics, and I am a big advocate for science in politics and life in general. I always thought that holistic health was at odds with science itself. After some soul searching, I came to the realization that this was not the case. That these two things I thought of as opposites can and do coexist.

The session itself was amazing. We spent almost two hours at the Starhouse in Boulder, wandering through the woods and around the property. There are lots of spiritual sites at the Starhouse, and plenty of gorgeous natural landscapes, that made for the perfect backdrops to our session. At the end, there was a massive downpour and Andrea was so excited to dance in it. She actually had to convince me to keep taking photos! They turned out amazing and my equipment was unharmed. In true Colorado fashion, the storm passed quickly and left us with an incredible double rainbow to end the day.

Dance Warriors – Holistic Health | Boulder Dance Photography

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Tell me a bit about yourself.

I, Andrea Jayne Martin, am an eclectic mover, creator, dance educator, yogi, and healing artist residing in Boulder, CO.

In 2017, I established ethereum dance co. to continue my passion for creating socio-political performance art pieces that speak to the human experience. My approach is symbiotic between body, mind & spirit- encouraging full immersion in movement through a heightening of the senses.

I am a graduate of Rhode Island College with a B.A. in Dance as well as a B.A. in Performing Arts Management. I also hold a Certificate in Non-Profit Studies in addition to a Minor in International Non-Governmental Organization Studies and was the recipient of a 2015 Rhode Island College Leadership Award in the category of “Vital Contribution to the Community.” I hold certifications in Selah® and Intuitive Dao Tantric Healing Arts, Kripalu Yoga, and Stand-Up Paddle Board (SUP) Yoga. I am the sole owner of Selah® | Holistic Wellness and also serve as Founder and President of 501c3 nonprofit holistic wellness advocacy organization Seeds of Wellness (SOW), Inc.

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Why are you passionate about holistic health?

I spent much of my early life very unwell- enslaved by chemical dependency and reckless on every level… 90 pounds soaking wet with all the attributions of a stale cigarette. The right people stepped in for me when I couldn’t and shed light on a journey of purpose-driven recovery. Eight years later and, of course, still evolving, the renewed pursuit of holistic wellness in my own life has translated into the lives of others through my healing arts practice, Selah | Holistic Wellness, based in Boulder, CO. My work stems from a passion to offer the same light to others that was extended to me in my time of need.

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How has dance helped you express yourself?

Dance is therapy. We are kinetic in nature. Movement is deeply engrained within us, down to the cell. Technical training allows the soul to fly, and to speak a language that is beyond words. I believe dance is the ultimate form of expression. It allows me to hone in on the subtleties of my being- to discover them, to feel them, to embrace them, and to share them.

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

Art is inherent to our beings. Just as we were created, we also create. We create meals, homes, decisions, babies… the list goes on. We are all artists. And just as the dancer needs technical training to hone in on their craft, the human being needs boundaries around what they create. Everyone has their own idea of what those boundaries should look like, giving us politics. What art does is hold politics accountable. Accountable to human nature… to the moral compass that exists within. To what we feel in our bodies- not just what our fleeting minds are able to talk us into. Art has the power to change the perception of a whole nation in a single moment, due to its inherent, holistic way of expression. Art speaks to the body, mind, and spirit as opposed to the playing field of politics, which dominantly exists in the cognitive realm. May art continue to provide the balance we need to live in peace.

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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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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!

Dance Warriors – Oil | Denver Dance Photography

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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.

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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Dancer and Activist Pi DuVal | Denver Headshot Photography

One of the ways in which I volunteer my time is by donating my Denver headshot photography to Presenting Denver. Presenting Denver is a non-profit organization founded in 2013. Their mission is to support the art of dance through increased public exposure and the appreciation of movement as an innovative art form.

In the past, I’ve taken dance photos of members of the dance community that Presenting Denver features as part of their In the Spotlight series. This season, I took headshots for the spotlights, as well as the ambassadors for the organization. We did these portraits on the rooftop of the Beauvallon building, where the Presenting Denver offices are located. This location gave us some wonderful spots, with nature, architecture, and beautiful views of the city.

Dancer and Activist, Pi DuVal

Allegra “Pi” DuVal grew up dancing, performing, teaching, and choreographing in her mother’s dance studio in Crested Butte. Her passion for dance never faded and she now strives to use dance as a medium to spread kindness and solidarity.

One of the things that struck me most while I was reading Pi’s interview was her passion for giving back and activism in her community. If you’ve seen my new project, Dance Warriors, you know how important the intersection between politics, social justice, and the arts is to me. As Sutton Anker writes in her In the Spotlight interview, “Pi is involved with the Colfax Community Network teaching hip-hop to children of transient families and also teaches at Feel the Beat, a Denver area studio for the deaf and hard of hearing.” She also founded Dance is Love, in response to the rise in hate crimes during and after the 2016 election. They have performed for the Denver RAW Artist Showcase and are now the official dance company of Denver Pride Fest.

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