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.
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.
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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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.
“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.”
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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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!
Credits (in photo order):
Schiff Dance Company
Edgar L. Page
Chadesh Contemporary Dance Movement
Hannah Kahn Dance Company
Helanius J. Wilkins
Moripovida Contemporary Dance
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