Dancers of New York Gives an Unfiltered Look at Artists’ Lives
July 8, 2015

Sophie Lee Morris, a Dancers of New York subject, at the Astoria Ditmars Blvd stop on the N,Q line

When Sofie Eriksson first moved from Sweden to New York City to study at Broadway Dance Center, she lived in a hostel, where she shared a three-bedroom apartment with 13 other people. Broadway performer Kim Faure says she moved six or seven times during her first year in Manhattan before getting her first role, in Anything Goes. Tales of wild living situations are just a small part of what performers share on the new photo blog Dancers of New York (DONY).

Following the formula of the popular blog Humans of New York (HONY), photographer James Jin posts pictures of and interviews with dancers on social media and on DONY’s website. He uses subway stations as backdrops, because, according to the site’s About section, the train is metropolitan dancers’ primary mode of transit to classes, auditions and gigs. There are shots of dancers on pointe outside of elevators, posing on railings and doing layouts on underground platforms. Like HONY, the most engaging parts of the DONY Facebook page are the interviews and, as the blog grows in popularity, followers’ replies.

Jin talks to each dancer he photographs about where they grew up and trained, how they got to New York and what they’re doing now. For pre-professionals considering a move to New York City, this can be valuable information. And the interviews delve deeper. Dancers reflect on sad memories of rejection and share their feelings of insecurities about body type, as well as offering advice for fellow artists. Readers respond with commiseration, encouragement and compliments: “Nice kick!” For dancers going through the inevitable ups and downs of their training and careers, DONY, if it continues in the footsteps of HONY, could be a supportive social-media community of artists. With plans to show one dancer at every subway station (468 total ) on the NYC map, DONY is on track to tell enough stories to strike a chord with every dancer.

Photo by James Jin, Dancers of New York

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