Ballet Careers

Dancers & Dogs: Your New Favorite Ballet Collaboration

Saint Louis Ballet dancer Kaila Feldspausch and Angus. Photo Courtesy Dancers & Dogs.

Last March photographer Kelly Pratt Kreidich came up with an idea: to photograph dancers and dogs...together. "It all came to me," she says. "I wanted the images to look really clean, simple and lighthearted. And obviously, because it's dogs, kind of silly." And thus, Dancers & Dogs was born.

Based in St. Louis, MO Kreidich and her husband Ian are a husband-and-wife photography team known as Pratt and Kreidich Photography. Four years ago, just for fun, they started taking pictures of a couple of the dancers in the Saint Louis Ballet, and when the company was in need of a Nutcracker photographer, they were hired. Now the duo is responsible for all of SLB's marketing and performance photography. So when Kreidich came up with her vision, she naturally reached out to SLB for dancers. "The company was really receptive to it," she says. "They've even been letting us use their studios."

Finding dogs wasn't quite so easy. "We have certain requirements. They have to be able to sit and stay and behave nicely indoors," says Kreidich. She put out a call to all of her canine-loving friends, promising fine art portraits of the dogs alone if their owners let them pose with the dancers.

SLB dancers Elizabeth Lloyd with Lola and Trooper. Photo Courtesy Dancers & Dogs.


At shoots, the dogs end up leading the show. "We really work with their personalities," says Kreidich. "We go along with what the dogs are able to do and what they like to do. One was able to wear sunglasses, so we were like, 'well we've get to use that.'"

While this is just a pet project (no pun intended) for the Kreidich's, they're working to expand. While much of their following is on Instagram, they have prints are available for sale on their website, as is a 2018 calendar created in collaboration with SLB. But that's not at all. Next they're focused on photographing 100 dancers with 100 dogs, with the goal of creating a book a few years down the road. "We're hoping to expand to other companies in other cities, and also into other types of dance from contemporary to hip hop."


The Dancers & Dogs 2018 calendar. Photo Courtesy Dancers & Dogs.

The Conversation
Summer Intensive Survival
Getty Images

It is easy to feel as though the entire ballet year revolves around summer: more hours in the day for dance, and another summer intensive to add to your resumé. You've likely dreamt about which program you want to attend, traveled to auditions and gotten excited about the new challenges in a big city school. But what if you find yourself staying home?

It can feel heartbreaking to watch your peers take off for their intensives. Whether you're staying home by choice or because of injury or finances, you can still improve and have fun at your local studio. Unlike those headed off to big intensives, you have flexibility and money on your side. Jody Skye Schissler, owner of Skye Ballet Center in Herndon, Virginia, encourages dancers to start by asking, "How can you make your summer more focused on yourself and what you need for your future?" Here are tips for making the most of your time at home.

Keep reading... Show less
The Royal Ballet's Vadim Muntagirov and Marianela Nuñez in La Bayadère. Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy ROH.

Do you ever wish you could teleport to London and casually stroll into The Royal Opera House to see some of the world's best-loved ballets? Well, we have a solution for you: The Royal Ballet's 2018-19 cinema season.

Whether live or recorded, the seven ballet programs listed below, streaming now through next October, will deliver all of the magic that The Royal Ballet has to offer straight to your local movie theater. Can you smell the popcorn already?

Keep reading... Show less
Ballet Stars
Royal Ballet principal Steven McRae with his kids. Via Instagram.

With Father's Day just around the corner, we wanted to take a minute to acknowledge some of the dancer dads out there who are doing double duty at home and onstage. So in between feting the father figures in your life this weekend (and thanking them for sitting through countless hours of dance recitals throughout the course of your lives), check out these eight ballet dads below.

Keep reading... Show less
Ballet Stars
Antonio Carmena (right) coaches a Barnard College student. Photo by Marcus Salazar, courtesy Carmena.

Some ballet dancers, the lucky ones at least, get to enjoy long, successful careers. Yet their dancing schedule usually allows little time for anything else. At New York City Ballet, for instance, most dancers don't have secondary jobs on the side, although layoffs between seasons provide short opportunities to flex new muscles, like teaching. But performance careers inevitably come to an end, and dancers must then "become" something else.

When former NYCB soloist Antonio Carmena retired from the company in 2017, he realized he wasn't quite prepared for the next step. His retirement uncovered an insecurity buried deep within him—that without dance, he wasn't "good" at anything anymore. It's taken two years for Carmena to develop more work experience as he searches for a new place for himself in the dance world. And while he admits it's an ongoing journey, the pieces are finally starting to come together.

Keep reading... Show less