Q1: What’s your side hustle?
Dance photos are my favorite, but I also enjoy taking headshots, portraits, family photos & event photos. I teach and choreograph in the tri-state area and in the Midwest. I have also done arts administration work & grant writing, consider myself a super nanny, and have worked for various dance competitions and fitness studios. Photography has proved to be the most joyful side hustle because I’m constantly learning & making art, capturing important moments and interacting with truly beautiful people. It also gives me more freedom to audition and perform!
Q2: What’s it like living and working in NYC as a dancer?
Living and working in NYC is wonderfully challenging and not at all what I expected. It’s often hard to find balance, but the really great days always outweigh the tougher ones. I’m so grateful to live here because inspiration is literally everywhere.
Q3: What got you into photography and how did you get started?
I’ve always loved photographs. I can remember staring at snapshots of my Italian grandmother in her 20s, covering my Math binders with Dance Spirit collages and filling as many picture frames as I could. In high school I took a course, but it wasn’t until after college (when I could truly take advantage of NYC) that I truly began honing my skill and created maljpetphoto.
Q4: What’s it like shooting with dancers specifically?
Working with dancers is amazing because we can take direction so well, and most of us are perfectionists. I try to celebrate the individuality of each dancer and make them feel as comfortable as possible in front of the camera. I usually have dancers improv to some great tunes and we go from there-finding lines and poses that work for them and compliment their style. Achieving “the shot” is such a great feeling because it’s movement, beauty and energy captured.
Q5: Who are your dance photography icons?
I have so many, but some of my favorites include: Rosalie O’Connor, Matthew Murphy, Ed Flores, James Jin and Kyle Froman.
Q6: What advice Do you have for young dancers moving to NYC?
Remember what a blessing it is to do what we do and trust the process. Surround yourself with genuine people and have friends outside of the industry to keep you sane. Stay present, stay versatile, and stay in class!
More about Mal! An Ohio native, Mallory is a NYC based performer. She received her B.F.A in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College where she graduated cum laude. Since graduation, she has worked as a freelance dancer striving to be the most versatile performer she can be. Favorite credits include the Broadway Christmas Wonderland Tour, Fire Island Dance Festival, and an industrial at Radio City Music Hall. She also teaches&choreographs for dance studios across the nation, pursues photography (@maljpetphoto), and is a volunteer for the Hudson Guild Foundation. She is proudly represented by LDC Artist Representation. | www.mallorypettee.net