DANCE/USA Dance Conference | No Dominion: The Ian Horvath Story

by | Jun 23, 2017 | Dance Film | 0 comments

I recently spoke at DANCE/USA’s 2017 Dance Conference

I am constantly in impressed by DANCE/USA’s support of new ways to engage dance audiences. I was so honored to be part of this year’s DANCE/USA 2017 Dance Conference. To have the chance to speak about doing what I love in front of an audience full of artists was the best way to kick off my summer!!

Margaret Mullin and I shared an exclusive preview screening of parts of our dance documentary, No Dominion: The Ian Horvath Story. When Margaret came to me with this idea, to make a film about Horvath, I admittedly didn’t know much about him. As I get deeper and deeper into the process of creating this film, I am more and more inspired by his story. The more I learn, the more I wish I knew him.

No Dominion: The Ian Horvath Story is a film celebrating the remarkable life of the late Ian (Ernie) Horvath, dancer, choreographer, director, dance champion and AIDS activist.


The film includes re-stagings of two of Horvath’s beautiful and moving dances, performed by truly stellar dancers from ballet companies across the country.

We previewed the full length re-staged piece, No Dominion, the last work that Ian created, and Laura’s Women, one of his early works. We also showed an interview with Dr. Margaret Carlson, who was one of Ian’s first dancers, and some of Ian speaking on Eye On Dance. We were SO happy with the turn out and the enthusiastic audience – we had a lively discussion after the screening.

DANCE/USA 2017 Conference Nel Shelby
DANCE/USA 2017 Conference Nel Shelby
DANCE/USA 2017 Conference Nel Shelby

I was also thrilled to speak on a panel during the breakout sessions.

“Envisioning a Bold Future for Dance’s Digital Presence” was a discussion of the increase in online consumption of entertainment and how the dance world has responded.

The panel was moderated by Libby Smigel, and I spoke alongside Jaamil Kosoko, Julia Rhoads and Rebecca Salzer to answer a series of open-ended questions relating to sharing more carefully curated, thoughtful dance video online.

Should the dance world look toward sharing more full-length dance video online? How will this serve artists? How will platforms like OnTheBoards.TV come into play? What different features are enticing to artists and growing audiences?

For me, I’d like to think that being able to transform dance video into a digital landscape relies on shifting our mindset. What if we look at dance in digital form as its own medium and not to try so hard to re-create live performance. Once you are able shift your mindset, there are so many possibilities, ways to share your dance video and solutions to reach higher engagement with your audience.

Dance/USA Conference Room Photo Credit: Lauren Warnecke of Art Intercepts

Nel Shelby is Owner & Filmmaker for Nel Shelby Productions, her New York City-based company dedicated to dance videography and editing. Nel shares her mission to preserve and promote the art of dance with her husband, Christopher Duggan, a dance and wedding photographer. They collaborate on projects with dance companies of worldwide renown, up-and-coming choreographers, dance educators, dance schools and more. Nel is Video Producer at Jacob’s Pillow and Vail Dance Festival and is also the proud Director and Producer of PS DANCE! — a New York Emmy-nominated documentary about dance education in NYC’s public schools.