WE ARE NOT THE FOCUS: Nel Shelby

CHRISTOPHER_NEL_RETOUCHED-3We were delighted to sit down again with Nel Shelby, dance videographer and entrepreneur, to follow up on our brief conversation from earlier this year at the Dance on Camera Festival. In this episode we delve deeper into Nel’s filmmaking process for PS DANCE!, her highly successful new documentary about dance education in public schools that has spawned a movement to bring dance to every child. (You can find our interviews with PS DANCE! viewers here.) We also learn about Nel’s intuitive, collaborative approach to making documentaries and dance films and about how she built her own company, Nel Shelby Productions, over time. Nel articulates her learnings about drawing out interviewees by being present without becoming the focus and shares a positive, optimistic attitude about the future of dance.


Nel Shelby is the founder of Nel Shelby Productions, a production company based in NYC and focused specifically on preserving and promoting dance through dance videography.

Nel Shelby Productions boasts a diverse list of dance clients in New York and beyond. Nel serves as Festival Videographer for Jacob’s Pillow Dance and is Resident Videographer at the Vail International Dance Festival (VIDF). Her documentary about choreographer Nejla Y. Yatkin was screened at a PillowTalk at Jacob’s Pillow’s 2015 festival, and past films include The Altitude of Dance, a documentary on VIDF, which debuted on Rocky Mountain PBS; four short films for Wendy Whelan’s Restless Creature; and a short created with Adam Barruch that screened at NYC’s Dance on Camera Festival and San Francisco Dance Film Festival. She holds degrees in broadcast video and dance, and she lives in New York City with her husband, dance photographer Christopher Duggan, and their kids Gracie and Jack.

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