The Dance Enthusiast Announces #MYDANCEUPCLOSE Contest Winners

The Dance Enthusiast Announces #MYDANCEUPCLOSE Contest Winners
Sammi Sowerby / Follow on Instagram

By Sammi Sowerby / Follow on Instagram
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Published on July 21, 2014


This summer, The Dance Enthusiast hosted a photo contest inviting dance lovers to share their best snapshots of anything and everything dance-related. Fellow dance enthusiasts were also urged to view the entries online and to vote for their favorite pictures.

The #MyDanceUpClose contest is a spinoff from our publication’s #DanceUpClose initiative which officially kicked off in 2012. The project, an ongoing series of intimate interviews and sneak previews of works in progress, aims to connect audiences with New York artists by showing behind-the-scenes goings-on prior to the staging of a performance.

All Dance Up Close features can be viewed under the Day In The Life’ tab on our website.

Watch a video chronicling our #DanceUpClose participants in Fall 2013.

In little time, our team compiled an impressive assortment of photographs taken during rehearsal, onstage, and en plein air. Dance happens anywhere at any time, and #MyDanceUpClose provided the opportunity to capture these joyous fleeting moments in images. It was deeply enjoyable to sift through all the entries and we thank every participant who took a little time to share their enthusiasm for dance!

We’d like to wish hearty congratulations to the three contestants who procured the most votes! Here are the winning submissions along with brief Q&As with each winner.


1) Jamie Benson of The Shakedown Collective:

Jamie Benson of The Shakedown Collective
The Shakedown, a Dance Collective for people of all shapes, sizes and ages, rocks the streets of New York during the 2014 Dance Parade. #MyDanceUpClose.


TDE: Tell us about your #MyDanceUpClose.

JB: The Shakedown (a Dance Collective for people of all shapes, sizes and ages) is completely honored to be a #MyDanceUpClose winner! Thanks everyone! We're seen in this image rocking the streets of NYC during the 2014 Dance Parade. After a year in operation, the Shakedown has been featured in the New York Times and, performed for the River to River Festival, Dixon Place, The Actor's Fund and Secret City, and was selected for the Cinedans Film Festival in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

TDE: Do you have any future dance projects or performances coming up?

JB: The new Shakedown season starts Monday, September 8th from 7-9pm at Chrystie Street Ballet Academy (put it in your  digital calendars!). We have a ton of stage performances and film shoots planned for 2014-15.

Follow Jamie Benson/The Shakedown on:

Facebook, Twitter @jamiebenson and Youtube


Hashtag: #DefyYourCouch


2) Katherine Bergstrom from New York

Katherine Bergstrom from New York
Celebrating #TiltTuesday outside the Candy Apples studio from "Dance Moms."

TDE: Tell us about your #MyDanceUpClose.

KB: The photo I chose for #MyDanceUpClose was taken outside the Candy Apples Dance Center in Canton, OH made popular by the TV show "Dance Moms." I grew up dancing at Summit Dance Shoppe, a large competition studio in Plymouth, MN so naturally I'm drawn to this show that not only turns the intimacy of the dance studio into globally available reality TV, but also showcases (and skews) what it's like to dedicate yourself to a competitive dance team at a young age. I was visiting a friend in Ohio, and we made the 40-mile drive to Canton so I could get my fan photo outside of Candy Apples and celebrate #TiltTuesday!

TDE: Do you have any future dance projects or performances coming up?

KB: I just graduated this past May from Columbia University with a BA in Dance and Psychology, and I'm hoping to begin my first post-grad choreographic project within the next few weeks! I am also also an apprentice with Sydnie L. Mosley Dances, a contemporary dance company based in Harlem that seeks to engage audiences by involving them in all stages of our creative processes and use dance as a voice for community activism. 

TDE: Continue the prompt: “I am a dance enthusiast because…”

KB: …dancing makes my mind and body feel fulfilled in a way that no other experiential state can. When I'm dancing, I feel like my whole sense of being is working in amplified cooperation: what I'm feeling in my body is connected to how I'm planning and evaluating movements in my mind, which are in turn both connected and responding to the various environmental stimuli that I'm simultaneously taking in. Dancing is a constant tug of war between allowing your conscious thoughts to determine your experience of your body and letting that same experience determine the state of your mind. I think we (as mobile beings) need to be reminded of the aptitude of our bodies, and take time now and then to reflect on how our bodies guide us through our lived experiences, and, more importantly, why. It seems like everyone these days - neuroscientists, op-ed columnists, visual artists, marketing managers - is obsessed with understanding lived human experience; to these people, I'd say, take a dance class. 

Follow Katherine Bergstrom on:

Twitter @kaethonbroadway and Instagram @kberg703



3) Necia Young from Diboll, Texas


TDE: Tell us about your #MyDanceUpClose.

NY: I can't believe it. #MyDanceUpClose picture was shot at the studio where I teach hip-hop, ballet, and body works, which is a class that allows the participant to explore the energizing potential of a mind/body connection.

TDE: Do you have any future dance projects or performances coming up?

NY: No dance projects or performances on the horizon. That makes me sad.  I would love to collaborate and learn again.

TDE: Continue the prompt: “I am a dance enthusiast because…”

NY: …dance keeps me curious and connected to others.

Follow Necia Young:

Facebook: Necia Young with Changing Lives Dance Studio.

Jury Favorite:

Necia’s picture won us over for the ‘Jury Favorite’ category. She will receive a snapback hat from Brooklyn-based fashion label VOODA!




A big shoutout to all our other contestants!

Flamenco Vivo; Trina Mannino; Robin Bisio; Kathee Miller; Lindsay Schaefer; Stacey Allen; Barkin/Selissen Project; Kimberly Giannelli; Ballets With A Twist; Danah Katz; Naomi Goldberg Hass; Daniel Gwirtzman Company; Elisa Monte Dance; Houston MET Dance.

Thanks for participating and stay tuned to The Dance Enthusiast for upcoming contests.



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