Sunday Snapshot: Magic Moments

“I don’t think dancers are always aware that an observer, even an amateur like me, can tell the difference between someone going through the motions and someone who is passionate about their art,” says photographer Scott W. Lewis.

“The difference in the image is of someone standing in an awkward position and an image that conveys that passion. My photography evolved from capturing something in focus to capturing that “magic moment” of expression where you can truly see the dancer’s love and dedication in what they are doing.”

IMAGE Paquita - Salt Creek Ballet; Photography by Scott W. Lewis IMAGE

©Scott W. Lewis Photography

Scott Lewis likes to say that he fell in love with photography by accident. He bought his first camera only a couple of years ago for no other reason than capturing the drama, dance, and athletic activities of his four daughters.

“I had no intent to do anything other than collect keepsake snapshots,” he explains, adding, “I realized that I truly enjoyed it, far more than I originally thought I would.” [Read more…]

Sunday Snapshot: Tango For Us

IMAGE Tango For Us // Photo by Moncho Vallejos // dancer: Daynelis Muñoz, Ballet de Camaguey // choreography: Tania Vergara, “Tango Para Nos” IMAGE

©Moncho Vallejos

When asked how he first approached professional photography, Moncho Vallejos likes to say that his first camera took him to a theatre and showed him how to snap.

“From a very early stage in life, I was grown to understand the importance of art and culture, to observe sensibly my surroundings and learn from them,” he says. “My first photo in movement, it didn’t go alright; but with practice, I’ve managed to achieve some good shots!”

Dance is what he knows. It’s the family business and his sister is a dancer. “I’d always go with my mother to drop my sister at class, sometimes even wait for the entire lesson to be over,” Moncho explains. “That’s how I became interested in dancing. On top of performing it, capturing it in moments.”

This picture was taken on July 29, 2011 in Mérida, Yucatán, México; at “Operación Bailarina Estudio 4: Gala”, an event that brought together some of the best dancers in Yucatán and guest performers from Camagüey, Cuba’s own city ballet. In the image we see one of the guest performers, Daynelis Muñoz, doing an original choreography of Tania Vergara, “Tango Para Nos” (Tango For Us)

About the photographer: Moncho Vallejos is a Communication Major and, in his free time, a photographer. His family owns and operates a Dance Studio, so his bonds with dancing are strong. Find him on Flickr: or follow on Twitter: @mnxo


Photographers, get featured in the Dance Advantage Sunday Snapshot. Click here.

Sunday Snapshot: Creation Of An Image

IMAGE Josh Brewster Photography - Austin's Inversion IMAGE

© Josh Brewster Photography

Josh Brewster was doing competitive ballroom dance when he began his journey in photography. “I wanted to document my life, my friends and all the shenanigans that we got ourselves into,” he remembers.

Competitive ballroom dance usually happens in a cavernously dark space and Josh quickly discovered he had reached the limitations of his first camera. “The flash fails to penetrate and causes the autofocus to panic for a good two seconds before deciding to take the picture,” he explains. But after an upgrade and a good deal of research, he was soon getting better photos at dance events.

“Fast forward a few years, subtract a slow learning curve, add in a bunch of gear, and we reach a point in the present where I love taking photos of people, especially dancers, in studio photo shoots.”

When asked why dancers in particular, Josh finds many reasons. “There is a tacit understanding that, as photographers and subjects, we rely on each other to create an image. Both photographers and dancers spend years perfecting their skills and timing, each contributing from their respective domains to create something that only ever happens once in a single frame in existence. In the studio environment, the level of collaboration is at its peak. We are there for the sole purpose of creating an image; the only limits are the ones that we set ourselves. The discovery and creation is amazing.”

He adds, “We are used to thinking of dancing as movement. With photography, the movement becomes a stillness that can be viewed independently. In some cases, the still frame cannot easily be reinterpreted back into the original movement. In my mind,” Josh expounds, “these are the best dance images, the ones where you have to ask ‘What were they doing to reach that position and shape?'”

Though fellow dancers may have some pretty good guesses about how young Austin Meiteen (who, interestingly enough, has appeared in our Sunday Snapshot series before) could have arrived at this pose, we can appreciate the strength of line and implied fluidity of this collaboratively captured moment.

The photograph was taken at a local dance studio, though it was not your standard photo shoot. Josh scheduled a ‘tutoring’ session to introduce Austin’s older sister to the basics of studio photography. “I would explain the difference between various light modifiers, and then allow her to decide which ones to use and where to place them. After getting the lights set up, her brother would leap and pose and flip while she captured the movement and got a feel for the studio side of photography. I planned to do little-to-no shooting.”

But after watching, helping, and instructing, Josh’s trigger finger started to feel that photographic itch and he asked to step in for a frame or two. Perhaps ten frames later, he handed the reins back over, knowing that he had grabbed at least one decent shot. “It wasn’t until I was looking at the images on my computer that I realized how lucky I had been,” he says. “My favorite part of the image is Austin’s left index finger; it reminds me of Adam’s hand in Michelangelo’s Creation of Man.

About the Photographer: Josh Brewster is a photographer living in Austin, Texas trying to make his way in the world one photograph at a time. See more of his dance and portrait work at



Austin Meiteen is 11 and in Grade 6 at Four Points Middle School where he maintains Honor Roll grades. As a competitive dancer he has accumulated 14 National Championships, including 6 National Champion Solo titles. He is currently the DSUSA national Contemporary, Musical Theatre and Overall solo champion. In March 2011 the Texas State PTA presented Austin with an Award of Excellence, and the US National PTA presented him with an Award of Merit, for his choreography in the Reflections competition. He recently performed in his first professional production with Ballet East Austin in Stand By Me. In addition to dancing approximately 20 hours a week, Austin fits in 2 hours of tumbling training. He has been offered and accepted full academic scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet School in NYC for the summer of 2012.


Photographers, get featured in the Dance Advantage Sunday Snapshot. Click here.

Sunday Snapshot: Staring At The Sea

IMAGE Staring at the Sea by Kristen Newsom - a dancer stands in arabesque on a rocky New England coastline. IMAGE

© Kristen Newsom - All rights reserved

At a young age Kristen Newsom developed an interest and delighted in photography. Her joy blossomed when a very good friend, Meredith Neel (whose modeling skills can be seen throughout Kristen’s Flickr) inspired her to pursue more dance-related photography. “We were quite a creative duo back then and without her I don’t think I would be half as good at what I do. She’s such a lovely dancer, and I was positively ecstatic to capture her beauty on film.”

Kristen points out she also has had the pleasure to dance with and to photograph another of our Sunday Snapshot featured photographers/dancers, Melissa K. Dooley.

Taken during the summer of 2010, Staring at the Sea is a result of Kristen’s passion for nature and for trying out new dance photography techniques. For the last two years she has attended Burklyn Ballet Theatre in the summer, and has been able to experiment with photography at dress rehearsals and backstage at performances, as well as during days off when she has the opportunity to photograph friends dancing in and enjoying the scenic Vermont landscape.

This particular photo was taken after a Burklyn Ballet road trip through Connecticut. The location was discovered by accident. “We were driving along the coast while I was looking for places to take candid shots of tourists and some landscapes, and I saw the beautiful rocks and outlook point and I couldn’t resist trying some dance photography there. The shoot turned out very successful and some of these photos are my favorites to-date.”

Kristen feels fortunate to have strong support from family and friends and feels her passion comes from being pushed and inspired by loved ones, not only in photography but also in her dance training. “Dancing has brought me out of my safe-zone and out of my shell. And because of dance and trying to capture dance’s illusive beauty, I’ve evolved into the person I am today. I’m driven by the love of dance and by my desire to see and experience the world from a personal level. I always try and give 100% to everything, including my photography. I wont settle for just average or ordinary. I want my viewers to feel my photo and to be moved and taken away by it.”

Kristen recently closed a chapter in her life, taking a final bow with her childhood dance studio where she’s spent the last 16 years. She’ll once again spend this summer at Burklyn Ballet Theatre as a Jr. Counselor and is currently auditioning for companies while also prepping for her next semester at Sam Houston State University (a BFA in Dance with a minor in photography, of course).

Photographers, get featured in the Dance Advantage Sunday Snapshot. Click here.

Sunday Snapshot: Midst of a Late Winter

IMAGE A ballet dancer balances on her pelvis against a veiled window. On a reflective surface with a reversed image, there appears to be four of her. IMAGE

You may remember Melissa K. Dooley, her work, and background in dance and photography from our Sunday Snapshot last month of her photo: Ballerina Lounging in Central Park. When Melissa added this recent shot to our Flickr photo pool, I couldn’t resist showing off another of her lovely photos. I find what Melissa calls a ‘kaleidoscope’ effect (achieved with Photoshop) reminiscent of a Rorschach ink test… and equally as mesmerizing!

Melissa took this self portrait in April of this year (2011). “After a long day at the ballet studio, I was [Read more…]