I had the opportunity to meet Nigel and his Grandmother Sonya through Kate Danielson; my dear friend and founder of Foster Progress in Chicago. Foster Progress is the result of immense need for advocacy, mentorship, & education and I am always excited to partner with them in their good work. I was excited to partner with Foster Progress to help Nigel tell part of his story through images.....
Nigel is a hard working high school dedicated to dance and hoping this newly realized dream of dancing & performing professionally becomes a reality through the pursuit of studying performance dance in college! We met early on a rainy Saturday morning at Joel Hall dance studio in my old neighborhood in the city where Nigel has been studying and interning to learn as much as he can. We had a lot of laughs trying to decide exactly what we wanted to capture and include in his portfolio and other dancers would wander in and out offering their help and support. We captured jumps and bends that I could not do even back in my prime (I was gasping behind my lens numerous times)!
Nigel's warm smile and his affection, love, and respect for his grandmother made capturing his story a blessing! He shared that she was the one who pushed him to try contemporary and ballet when he didn't consider it an option. Sonya supported Nigel in many ways in his life and dared him to dream big. And even though he probably prefers the straight faced head shots his contagious laugh reveals so much about him and are my favorite images. As the sunlight grew stronger and our time in the rented studio neared an end ballet dancers for the first class of the day arrived along with Missy; one of Nigel's dance instructors who immediately embraced him and shared how proud she is of all his progress and hard work. Nigel also bragged on her for having dances on Facebook that went viral and for always believing in him.
Thanks Nigel & as I told him the day of our storytelling session: when you make it big I want a shout-out! I love partnering with organizations doing so much good in the world- please check out the work of Foster Progress!! Your stories make this work so worthwhile and I am grateful to have a glimpse into what the future could hold for Nigel.