Wendy Whelan | Retiring from New York City Ballet

Today is my 9th wedding anniversary. Christopher and I are happy and grateful for each other, and also for sharing our lives together professionally, too, working in the dance world. We’re celebrating 9 wonderful years of marriage tonight by attending the ballet!

Wendy Whelan has always been one of our all-time favorite performers. There’s just something about her that goes beyond the steps, beyond the costumes. She lives the choreography and performs with real heart and real integrity. We just can’t take our eyes off her – never could! I have loved getting to know Wendy the last few years.

Wendy is retiring from New York City Ballet this Saturday, October 18, 2014 as you may know.  We are so excited to see how her career transforms and what new dance projects she will take on in the years to come.

I’ve had the privilege of working with Wendy on multiple occasions, from filming her at Vail International Dance Festival in Christopher Wheeldon’s “After the Rain” (I’m obsessed) to following her throughout her journey making Restless Creature with Kyle Abraham, Brian Brooks, Joshua Beamish and Alejandro Cerrudo to premiere at Jacob’s Pillow. It was pretty much a dream to follow her through her process in Restless Creature.

I’m sending my best wishes to Wendy this week. I know it must be emotional and so exciting for her. I’ll be there Saturday to watch her say goodbye! xox

Thinking of Carmen de Lavallade | “As I Remember It”

Carmen de Lavallade is a wonderful dancer, choreographer, and performer. I just love her, and her most recent show, “As I Remember It” – the way it was put together, the design of the projection and the set were all totally beautiful.

We filmed “As I Remember It” at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival this summer, and Carmen and her team asked me to make a promotional film because she was taking it on a full tour. Our promotional trailer wasn’t necessarily to sell tickets to the performance, but for presenters to have something to put on their websites, in their lobbies, on social media or to give to the media.

It was such a pleasure to put together this short dance film. Carmen is very engaging. She’s extremely likable on stage, because she’s just completely real. And she’s pretty much mesmerizing to watch. The way that she moves about space makes you feel like she’s dancing, even when she’s not performing dance moves. Carmen de Lavallade just exudes dance.

The thing I thought was incredible about “As I Remember It” is how they designed the projection on stage. It was completely brilliant. The way that she integrated the project – I felt like it was a live performance of a documentary film.

I’m thinking of Carmen, especially this week, since I heard of her husband Geoffrey Holder’s passing. I didn’t have the chance to work with him, but he was such a presence. She is in my thoughts, and I’m sending many hugs and much love. If you want to leave your condolences for Carmen, you can visit her website: www.carmendelavallade.com/contact

Lindsay Nelko’s “Awakening” at Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater

We were excited when Lindsay Nelko approached us for a promotional video showcasing her New York City production of “Awakening” at the Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater! Lindsay is a young Canadian choreographer whose career is really starting to take off; you may have seen her on TV as a choreographer for So You Think You Can Dance. It’s always been a dream of hers to make a full length work and show it in NYC, and now that dream has come true!

Because Lindsay was only in New York City for a limited time, she was able to work with her dancers for just a few short weeks before the performance. We filmed some of those precious hours in the studio, and a few interviews with the dancers, to create something that would promote her upcoming show. Our team had only a few days to create and edit this promotional video so Lindsay could get it out into the world before the show and boost ticket sales.

It was a really fun project and her dancers looked incredible! Jessica Ray did a great job editing!


Buglisi Dance Theatre | Tune into the Live-Stream on 9/11

#5. Table of Silence Arms Raised on Revson Fountain live stream Photo by Terri Gold

Table of Silence; Photo by Terri Gold

Every year, on September 11, Buglisi Dance Theatre offers audiences a chance to reflect and remember 9/11 with a special outdoor performance at Lincoln Center in New York City.

It has been a privilege to work with choreographer Jacque Buglisi for the past four years, to capture this beautiful tribute on film, and to also live-stream its performance for viewers all over the world.

The Table of Silence Project 9/11 is a free, public tribute and ritual for peace featuring 100+ dancers on September 11, 8:15-8:46 am EDT. A moving meditation, this dance offers peace in wake of tragedy. It is moving and beautiful and important.

This year, if you are unable to join us in person at Lincoln Center, I hope you’ll join us from work or from home. You can come back here and tune in below or visit the YouTube link directly. The live-stream is sponsored by TenduTV.



Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival 2014 | Aspen Santa Fe Ballet & LeeSaar The Company Dance Post-Show Talks

I can’t believe Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival 2014 has come to an end!! It was such a fun and full season, and our last two dance companies performed with such technical precision and power.

Enjoy these Post-Show Talks from LeeSaar The Company & Aspen Santa Fe Ballet to round out our wonderful summer!!

LeeSaar The Company Post-Show Talk & Dance Performance Video

Lee Sher and Saar Harari of LeeSaar The Company discuss Grass and Jackals with Jacob’s Pillow Scholar-in-Residence Philip Szporer

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Post-Show Talk & Dance Performance Video

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet artistic director Tom Mossbrucker discusses the fully commissioned program with Jacob’s Pillow Scholar-in-Residence Maura Keefe


Be sure to look at gorgeous photos of LeeSaar The Company & Aspen Santa Fe Ballet on my husband Christopher Duggan’s blog! And stay tuned as he continues to share dance portraits he made all summer long. (Are you on his email list??)


Nel Shelby and Christopher Duggan are a Manhattan-based husband and wife team, making photos & video with dance artists every summer at Jacob’s Pillow. Subscribe to Nel’s email for new dance videos and video tips every other week.

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