NEL SHELBY & CHRISTOPHER DUGGAN

Nel Shelby is a self proclaimed "happy dancer," raised in the Midwest at studios and companies that emphasized joy in performing. In college, after coming to terms with the often morose nature of the "what bleeds, leads" culture of her chosen focus, broadcast journalism, Nel got behind the camera instead. She started documenting the choreography in which she was performing and interviewing professors and mentors. She was onto an innate skill. When the problem of fuzzy footage blocked her own success at a cruise audition, Nel made it her official mission to document dance properly and help aid the careers of so many talented artists. 

Christopher Duggan was a business major and lifelong lover of theater who gravitated towards the backstage environment no matter what else he was up to. After graduating, while developing a strong hobby in photography at friend's weddings, he met Nel bopping around New York. On one of their dates together, he accompanied her to a small dance performance with his camera, hoping to take some pictures. 

Years later, this power couple leads the video and photo coverage at The Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival and The Vail International Dance Festival as well as countless performances, studio processes and dance events in New York City. If you have followed dance in New York, you have seen their work. Running their businesses (Nel Shelby Productions and Christopher Duggan Photography) side by side and co-parenting two young arts lovers, they have built a sweet life full of bouncy shoots, Berkshire summers and inspiring moments in the studio with legendary artists. This is their story and point of view at this particular moment in time. 
 

I got to this point where I thought ‘we still need to document dance.’ We can’t just stop because there’s instagram and we can do instastories and we can do really short little promos and more “creative dance films” meaning behind-the-scenes. I sort of felt like I always have to go back to my roots — how I founded my company was to make sure that dance on the stage is filmed and documented...I always have to remember that’s where I began and that’s what is still important.” 
— Nel Shelby

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