DANCE PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRISTOPHER DUGGAN

Christopher Duggan photographing Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival; photo Jamie Kraus
PHOTO BY JAMIE KRAUS

My wife Nel, a dance videographer, helped me get my start in photographing dance.

All it took was one choreographer, open to having me at her dress rehearsal (thanks, Adele Myers!) and I never turned back.

Now, I’ve photographed dance artists in cultural hotspots from New York to Chicago and beyond, I’ve been the Festival Photographer at Jacob’s Pillow Dance in the Berkshires since 2005, and the Festival Photographer at Vail Dance Festival since 2021.

You can commission me for dance photography for live performances, in-rehearsal creative processes, creative portrait shoots, events, and more!

CONVERSATIONS ON DANCE

“When I’m photographing a performance, I want the choreographer’s vision, point of view, and the dancers’ expressions to really come through. I’m not there to win some photo contest with my artistic creation, I really want to hone in on the essence of the work.” – Christopher Duggan

Listen to Episode #360 of the Conversations on Dance Podcast to hear how I approach dance photography at Vail Dance Festival.

WHAT CAN WE CREATE TOGETHER?

Misty Copeland dancing with Abraham.In.Motion at The Joyce Theater; photo Christopher Duggan
MISTY COPELAND DANCING KYLE ABRAHAM’S CHOREOGRAPHY AT THE JOYCE THEATER

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I pride myself on the ability to anticipate the exact moment the energy has reached its peak.

LIVE PERFORMANCE PHOTOGRAPHY

I love hearing that my photos and my wife’s videos have helped dance companies get grants, land spots at festivals and promote upcoming performances. That’s why we do what we do – to provide artists with a complete photo & video package that helps support their artistry in any way possible.

Dance clients include Ballet Hispanico, Camille A. Brown & Dancers, Guggenheim Works & Process, Pam Tanowitz Dance, Paul Taylor American Modern Dance, The Joffrey Ballet, and many more.

See performances I’ve photographed for The New York Times >

DANCE SCHOOL PHOTOGRAPHY

Photographing dance schools can mean a number of things – capturing annual recitals or Nutcracker performances, creating promotional photos in rehearsal or class, making portraits of students and more.

Dance schools I’ve photographed include Ballet Academy East, Ballet Hispanico School, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem School, Ellison Ballet, Greenwich Ballet Academy, Manhattan Youth Ballet and more.

Contact me to learn more about what I can provide for your school >

 

BALLeT ACADEMY EAST IN REHEARSAL

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The students of Ballet Academy East are incredibly talented and ultra-professional! Their rehearsals and showings were a delight both to photograph and watch.

Cynthia Erivo at Alvin Ailey's Gala (2023); photo Christopher Duggan
CYNTHIA ERIVO AT ALVIN AILEY’S ANNUAL GALA

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Honorary Chair Cynthia Erivo performing a live rendition of “Both Sides Now” at Ailey’s 2023 Opening Night Gala!

DANCE EVENt PHOTOGRAPHY

I don’t settle for a handful of photos of your VIPs on the step-and-repeat, and neither should you. My approach is to capture the magic, emotion and passion that make your organization great. I bring this to every corporate event, workshop, conference, gala, party, benefit, and fundraiser I photograph.

Event clients include Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dance USA, Dance/NYC, International Society for Performing Arts, Jacob’s Pillow Dance and more.

See more of my event photography > 

DANCE FILMS WITH NEL SHELBY PRODUCTIONS

nEL SHELBY & PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET’S MARGARET MULLIN

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A behind-the-scenes look at a documentary film shoot Nel is filming, directing and producing with Margaret Mullin.

My wife Nel and I both believe deeply in the preservation and promotion of dance, and we often team up to provide artists with a complete package for their upcoming productions.

Her dance film company, Nel Shelby Productions, makes standout video for dance artists every day. It’s amazing to see what she and her team creates, and I’m humbled to be a part of her business.

Learn more about Nel’s dance video company >

 

CREATIVE DANCE PORTRAITS

During my years as Festival Photographer for Jacob’s Pillow, I’ve had the opportunity to experiment and expand my skills in creative portraiture with dancers from companies around the globe. What started as a passion project in my “natural light studio” has become a signature service I can provide to dance artists at the Pillow, Vail Dance, in New York and beyond.

Ask me about creative portraits >

 

Celeste Lopez & Bruno Palheta at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival; photo by Christopher Duggan
DANCERS OF THE SCHOOL AT JACOB’S PILLOW

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Making portraits in the natural light on the Pillow’s campus is one of my favorite things to do.

Adji Cissoko & Calvin Royal III at Vail Dance Festival; photo Christopher Duggan
Adji Cissoko & Calvin Royal III at Vail Dance Festival

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I get to see the many sides of the artists and how they are on and off the stage. I’m lucky to be able to capture those different states of creativity.

PHOTOGRAPHING DANCE IN VAIL, COLORADO’S BEAUTIFUL MOUNTAINS

Photographing at Vail Dance Festival is essentially my personal dance heaven. As Festival Photographer, it’s my job to document everything I can from rehearsals during the day, to the performances at night, to creative portraits in Vail Valley. The dancers I get to make portraits with are just… the best dancers on the whole planet, and it’s really incredible to watch them collaborate together.

Explore previous Festivals on Nel’s blog >

let's talk about your next dance event