Documenting Dance With Video | A Roundup Of Recent Performances!

by | Nov 16, 2017 | Performance Video | 0 comments

Nel Shelby Productions has been a leading force in the dance field for over a decade when it comes to documenting dance performance.

Documenting dance is SO important! Good quality video helps artists succeed. It helps them get grants they’re applying for. It allows them to look back at choreography to set their work on new dancers in years to come. It gives them the opportunity to keep an archive of all the important work they have produced so they’re able to showcase what they’ve accomplished as an artist, and the list goes on!

Our clients understand the importance of documenting dance and we regularly film live performances with one, two three or maybe four cameras to help them document their work.


Here’s a roundup of three recent and very different shows we captured on video. Enjoy!

“This piece has been an exercise in restraint. I’m allowing myself to do thing I haven’t done in the past: to let certain things flow.” — Pam Tanowitz via The New York Times

We filmed Pam Tanowitz Dance’s New Work For Goldberg Variations as a part of Peak Performances at Montclair State University in New Jersey. The New York Public Library paid to document this work for their archives. There was a live pianist on stage for the entire performance, the dancers were incredible and the theater space was gorgeous. Pam nailed it.

The Alexander Kasser Theater is dance heaven! Pam Tanowitz continues to amaze me every time we work together. It is wonderful to watch her grow as an artist. It’s also so powerful that the New York Public Library continues to see value in documenting these works!

“It’s so weird. I call it screwball surrealism.” — Karole Armitage via The New York Times

We filmed Armitage Gone! Dance‘s Halloween Unleashed: Dancing Bones, Tasting Darkness and the Skeleton Within at La Mama Halloween weekend. We filmed during the dress rehearsal and during the live performance. I love shoots like this where the audience is there because I love theater and it’s so fun to see how people react to the performance.

We used multiple cameras for this shoot and the camera location had to be specific because we couldn’t shoot from the back of the house since there were audience members. My team was up for the challenge! We had one camera really low to the ground because Karole loved that low angle. The low angle made it feel more intimate in La Mama’s already-intimate space. I’m happy with the way this video turned out!!!

The dancers were perfect and gorgeous. The entire space was decorated and felt very festive – a perfect Halloween performance! I was amazed and thought the whole show was extremely creative. We had such a fun time collaborating with Karole Armitage!

“The [NYLA] Residency Program is invaluable because it gives you time to develop a piece. It’s going to be at this point over a year to rehearse, to present through a series of showings… you don’t know how much work goes into making a production!” — Walter Dundervill

Walter Dundervill is lovely and extremely creative. His piece SKYBOX was three-sided, so it was a fun challenge to film. My team and I had to be very strategic about how to film the piece: “Will it make sense to have wide camera on one side and a close camera on other side?” We also had to keep in mind whether or not this would be disorienting for the viewer.

Pioneer Works is the most fabulous space. You can’t even believe that something like it is in Brooklyn!!! They roasted marshmallows the night before at the premiere party. That’s incredible. You could tell everyone on the New York Live Arts staff was really relaxed. It was really great to see all of the people who came to Red Hook (it can be hard to get to!!) Walter was wonderful to work with!

Are you in need of video to document your next big thing?
Get in touch:!

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.