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Photographer Spotlight Norelle Marquez

Norelle Marquez is a wonderful photographer who runs Digital Dreams Photography. She currently makes her home in California and you can find her on Instagram @ddpdance where she shares photos from her recent shoots, but we wanted to get to know her a little better.

What are three things that you have to keep with you at all times?

Being a military spouse, my military ID is with me 24/7. I also have water and my cellphone with me at all times.

Which do you like more taking the pictures or editing them? Why?

This is a tough choice! I’d have to say I really enjoy creating what I call “photo magic” with my dancers and spending a fun-filled day trying crazy poses and helping them reach their full potential.

What is your favorite part about being a photographer? Why?

Photography fills me with happiness and unforgettable memories.  Plenty of jobs could do that, but only a photographer can capture those moments forever!

How did you get interested in photography?

Growing up, I spent a great deal of time in front of the camera as a model. As the years went by, I grew more and more interested in what the photographer was doing over me actually modeling. At 15, I was gifted my first “real” camera (dslr) and I have spent the last five years working each day to improve myself and my business.

Of all the states that you have photoshoots in, which is your favorite? Why?

California offers so much diversity that I’m just not sure any other state could beat it! I can work at the beach, in the busy city, urban areas, open fields, and so much more. I love being able to offer my clients so many beautiful locations to choose from.

When you are not behind the camera or editing what are you doing?

Most of the time you’ll find me watching Netflix with my husband, pup, and cat while eating something with chocolate in it. I have a major sweet tooth! The rest of my time is usually spent driving back home to Arizona to visit with my mom and help her with home renovation and decoration projects.

Getting Back To Pointe After The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker,  a show that has become a staple in many a Christmas tradition, has come to an end this holiday season. So now what? You have a short break and then you go back to the classes, right? But what do you need to prepare yourself for pointe after The Nutcracker ends?


The Shoes

At this point your pointe shoes are completely shot.  After the practices, rehearsals, and performances your going to need another pair before class starts up again. So heading to your favorite dance store for a new pointe shoe fitting is the perfect way to start preparing for class again. Feet also do change over time and as you get stronger you may find that you need a pointe shoe with a different shank strength or box shape in order for you to get the best out of your classes. So regardless getting a new pointe shoe fitting before class starts up again is a good idea.   


Stretching tools

Now that you have your new pointe shoes. It is important to keep up your flexibility during your break. Therabands, flexibility bands and I-flexs are all tools that can help you in your flexibility training. These tools are all good for different reasons though. The therabands can be used for both strengthening and stretching the body and it all depends on how you use them. A quick search on YouTube will show you dozens of excise videos that show you how to use them for different purposes. Unlike the theraband, which is an unconnected latex band, the flexibility bands are circular and can loop around your body to help you achieve your perfect split. The I-flex, depending on the model, can attach to the wall or the door and creates a pulley system to stretch out the legs.  

Tension Relieving Tools

Getting back to pointe after The Nutcracker or any break can bring with it some tension and pain. So getting tension relieving tools like muscle rollers, massage balls for your feet and epsom salt for soaking sore muscles can all help relieve the tension and pain that comes with starting up class again.


It is important to take care of your body and these are just a few of the things that you will need for starting pointe back up again. You can click here to shop online for these items.

So Danca Launches Stunning Colaboration with NYCB Principle Ballerina Sara Mearns

New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Sara Mearns teams up with worldwide dancewear manufacturer So Danca to release a line of edgy yet beautiful dancewear that every dancer is sure to love.

Named as the “Great American ballerina of the era” by Alastair Macaulay of the The New York Times, Mearns has spent nearly all of her time in a leotard since she first walked into a dance class at the age of three in South Carolina. Now as a Principal Dancer for New York City Ballet she knows how a well fitting leotard can boast a dancer’s confidence. It is because of this that she has the ability to identify quality dancewear and put forth exceptional designs in her collection with So Danca.

Known to some as a rockstar Ballerina, she wanted her collection to reflect this, but she also wanted the line to remain classic and show off the dancers form. This is why she choose the materials that she did as well as the design. The collection is called SMxSD for short and will be available in stores come January 2018. The collection includes 13 pieces all together of leotards, tops, leggings, and a romper. Even though the collection releases in January you can still preorder the whole line through Dancewear Corner by clicking here.

In an article from Informa, Sara Mearns talks about her vision of the line, how it was working with the team at So Danca, her photoshoot and commercial experience, what inspired some of the pieces and which pieces from the line are her favorite.

Here are just a few excerpts from the Informa article, but you can read the whole article by clicking here.

“Mearns says, ‘I think it’s very hard to get the fit of a leotard just right, and Só Dança has done that. The leg lines, and then how
it fits snug in all places, is amazing! I feel I am able to wear many different styles and still feel confident when I don’t have anything else on to cover up.’

She continues, “An exceptional leotard or dancewear line makes the dancer look the best they can and allows the dancer to be confident and dance their best. When I feel pretty in my outfit, I always dance better.’”

“‘We wanted to create something that the maker hadn’t seen before,’ Mearns shares. ‘The Só Dança designers in Brazil had this beautiful scalloped lace they had come up with, and we wanted to find a way to incorporate it in a fashionable way. We didn’t want to overload this first collection with too many ideas. I wanted it to be sleek but edgy. People have described me as a rockstar ballerina, so I wanted to somehow translate that but not go overboard. There is much more to come with that, so this is just a taste.’”

“‘I was so nervous the first time I put it on. I was in the bathroom by myself, and you just never know until you see it in the mirror for the first time. I am very hard on myself and very judgmental about my looks, but when I saw the leotards on me, I started getting emotional. I felt beautiful in them. I knew this would be a dream collaboration, but seeing my looks on myself for the first time really cemented it. It’s like the leotards came to life and made me want to dance!’”

“More than anything, though, Mearns is delighted to see how her collection can help young girls and women feel their best and confident.”

Sara Mearn continues to break boundaries and through her line she courageous dancers to be confident and feel beautiful and we can’t wait for her line to hit the stores.


10 Gift Ideas For Dance Teachers

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Being a dance teacher is not the easiest job in the world, they have to be a great role model for all of their students along with motivating them to work harder and improve their dancing. It takes a special kind of person to do all of that so you may be thinking about what to get them as a way to say thank you for all they do. While dance teachers don’t necessarily expect to receive gifts from their students for the holidays, it sure does bring a smile to their faces when they do. It can also be a great way to tell your teacher how much they mean to you and how much they have helped you grow as a dancer throughout the year.


That being said choosing a gift for your dance teacher can be a difficult task. That is why we have come up with ten gift ideas that we think your dance teacher will love.

1. Gift Cards

No matter how many gift cards a dance teacher can receive they will always be happy to see another. Gift cards are so versatile, you can get a gift card to their favorite store or restaurant or even one for a message. You can be sure that they will love it because they can use it to get things that they need in their everyday life as well as for class.

2. Candles

Candles can make a wonderful gift for any teacher this holiday season. They come in so many different scents and there is just something about lighting a candle and feeling the warmth coming from it that can really make a person feel nice and cozy for the holiday season.


3. Little Dance Related Things

You can also opt for getting a bunch of little items for your teacher as well. A cute little pointe shoe keychain or a button is the perfect little gift that will put a smile on your teacher’s face. This is an especially great gift for a young dancer to give their teacher because they will have fun picking out the little trinkets for their teacher.


4. A Framed Photograph Of The Teacher With The Student

This gift idea is a great one if you want to give something a little more personal. It is relatively easy to do yourself as you will only need to print out a picture that you like of the teacher with the dancer and then get a frame that you like as well and tada… You have a wonderful, memorable gift that your dance teacher will cherish.


5. A Book

A thoughtful or dance related book can make a great gift and bookstore usually have a section devoted to dance-related materials. The possibilities are endless when it comes to the type of book you can get them. There are books that are completely filled with pictures or you can grab a biography of a famous dancer that you think they will like.




6. Notebook for Choreography

There are many cute dance related notebooks and journals out there. So gifting one to your dance teacher is a great idea. Especially if you see them using one in class because teachers can use notebooks and journals to jot down different routines or numbers. However, the notebook could be used for many more things outside of dance.


7. A Cute Water Bottle Or Coffee Cup

Dance teachers need to stay hydrated in class too! And with all the cute dance related water bottles out there how can you resist. However, coffee is also something many dance teachers need to help them power through a long day of rehearsals. So a cute dance related mug would make a wonderful gift as well.




8. Jewelry

This gift idea can seem like it will get too expensive, but a simple bracelet, necklace, or ring will do the trick. Remember that you don’t have to spend a lot to tell your dance teacher how much they mean to you. Keep it simple and meaningful and they are sure to love it.




9. Dance Related Phone Case

Everyone has a phone and phone cases can say a lot about a person. So getting your dance teacher a phone case that involves dance in some way is a wonderful idea. It’s cute, it protects the phone, and it will say to everyone who sees it that they love to dance.

10. Dance Tote Bag

Tote bags, in general, are very useful. They can be used to carry anything from groceries to dance clothes. So grabbing a cute dance tote bag and giving it to your teacher can make a perfect gift. You can even stuff it with a few things that you think they might like.





I hope this list has helped you decide on what to get your dance teacher this holiday season, but remember no matter what you choose to get them, watching you improve in your dancing is the greatest gift a dance teacher can receive.


Happy Holidays!

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