by Nel Shelby
Carmen de Lavallade is a wonderful dancer, choreographer, and performer. I just love her, and her most recent show, “As I Remember It” – the way it was put together, the design of the projection and the set were all totally beautiful.
We filmed “As I Remember It” at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival this summer, and Carmen and her team asked me to make a promotional film because she was taking it on a full tour. Our promotional trailer wasn’t necessarily to sell tickets to the performance, but for presenters to have something to put on their websites, in their lobbies, on social media or to give to the media.
It was such a pleasure to put together this short dance film. Carmen is very engaging. She’s extremely likable on stage because she’s just completely real. And she’s pretty much mesmerizing to watch. The way that she moves about space makes you feel like she’s dancing, even when she’s not performing dance moves. Carmen de Lavallade just exudes dance.
The thing I thought was incredible about “As I Remember It” is how they designed the projection on stage. It was completely brilliant. The way that she integrated the project – I felt like it was a live performance of a documentary film.
I’m thinking of Carmen, especially this week, since I heard of her husband Geoffrey Holder’s passing. I didn’t have the chance to work with him, but he was such a presence. She is in my thoughts, and I’m sending many hugs and much love. If you want to leave your condolences for Carmen, you can visit her website: www.carmendelavallade.com/contact
Contributor Nel Shelby, Founder and Principal of Nel Shelby Productions, is deeply dedicated to the preservation and promotion of dance through documentation of live performances, fully edited marketing reels, live-stream capture, and documentaries and films that encapsulate the essence of nonprofit organizations.
Her New York City-based video production company has grown to encompass a diverse list of dance clients including American Ballet Theater II, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, Gallim Dance, Gotham Arts, Kate Weare and Company, Keigwin + Company, Monica Bill Barnes Company, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Shen Wei Dance Arts, Wendy Whelan and many more. She has filmed performances at venues throughout the greater New York area including The Joyce Theater, New York Live Arts, Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, St. Mark’s Church and Judson Church, to name a few.
For nearly a decade, Nel has served as Festival Videographer for the internationally celebrated Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in the Berkshires. Each season at the Pillow, Nel’s responsibilities include documenting aspects of festival culture in addition to its 20 mainstage dance performances, filming and overseeing documentation of more than 100 free performances and events, managing two dance videography interns and an apprentice, and educating students about the technical and philosophical aspects of filming dance.
She also serves as Resident Videographer at the Vail International Dance Festival where she spent her first summer creating five short dance documentary films about the festival in addition to documenting its events and performances. Her longer-form, half-hour documentary on Vail’s festival, The Altitude of Dance, debuted on Rocky Mountain PBS in May 2013.
She has created four short films for Wendy Whelan’s Restless Creature, and she collaborated with Adam Barruch Dance to create a short film titled “Folie a Deux,” which was selected and screened at the Dance on Camera Festival in New York City and the San Francisco Dance Film Festival. She is making a dance documentary featuring Nejla Y. Yatkin, called Where Women Don’t Dance.
Nel has a long personal history with movement – she has a B.A. in dance and is a certified Pilates instructor. She continues to train with world-renowned Master Teachers Romana Krysnowska and Sari Pace, original students of Joseph Pilates. In addition to her dance degree, Nel holds a B.S. in broadcast video. She often collaborates with her wonderful husband, dance photographer (and fellow 4dancers contributor) Christopher Duggan on creative projects with dancers in New York City and beyond. They live with their beautiful daughter Gracie and son Jack in Manhattan.