alyssa junious . movement from within: a dancer’s soul.

June 9, 2014

on changes in life.

Many of my Movement from Within sessions center around the same thing — following our dreams, owning our stories, and changes in life. These themes are all really important, but the one constant, of course, is change.

Change can be a pretty scary thing. Change can also be a really sad thing. But change is also an incredibly beautiful thing.

When I photographed Alyssa two years ago, we were both very different people than we are now. I originally met Alyssa when she was subbing for a dance class I was taking at the time. I immediately noticed in her a passion and love for movement and dance, and I knew she would be perfect for the project. I immediately asked her if she’d like to do a photo shoot with me, and she said yes.

At the time, I was doing these sessions in full force. I had a few lined up, and I had been doing them for about two years then. It was wonderful for me, to explore, discover, and find ways to tell these dancer’s stories, as well as work with them to become the dancer they want to be. If anything not just help them become the dancer they want to be, but maybe even the person they want to be, through one of the things they love the most — which is movement.

Of course, that’s why I called these sessions Movement from Within. Honest movement, I think, comes from the soul, and when you have to look into your soul, often times a lot more will reveal itself.

After photographing Alyssa, I photographed a few more dancers, and then I decided to take a hiatus. It wasn’t a planned hiatus, but I think I had a feeling that I needed to take a step back, and revisit the project again later.

Two years pass and one day, I remember thinking to myself: I think I’m ready to work on this project again.

One thing that I do with the project, is send a letter to the dancer with my thoughts and observations to them. I never did get a chance to share Alyssa’s images with her until now, so I wasn’t sure exactly how to write what I wanted to write. It had been so long, and we were no longer the same people. My observations of her then, may no longer be relevant to her now. But I decided to send a letter with my thoughts from the shoot, and I hoped that she would still be able to glean something from what I had said.

After sending her the letter, she wrote back the next day, detailing to me all the things that had happened in her life since that session, as well as what the session meant to her. If anything, it seemed like the session put forth a catalyst for her and changed her life.

After reading that email, I found myself happy for her, honored that it meant as much as it did to her, and in awe of how much we do change as people. Even myself. I think of who I was then, and who I am now, and I am in awe of the fact of how much I myself have grown as a person.

In fact that is something I tell myself often. I am no longer the same person that I was before. Even yesterday. Even 5 minutes ago! We are always changing, growing, evolving. And that change can come from external forces, but at the same time, it’s how we deal with the change internally that matters. Are we going to resist and complain about our hand in life? Or are we going to make the best of it, and move forward to the life we want?

I think we all want the latter.

Change, I think, is an incredible thing. I know there are a lot of people out there who fear change because with change, we don’t know what to expect. At least when things stay the same, we know how to handle it! Even if it’s not a life that we want. But I think when we embrace the idea of change, and the idea of being uncomfortable with what could happen in the future, growth appears, and beautiful things can blossom.


I am so glad to be sharing these sessions again. I think the wonderful thing about hiatuses and taking a break from a project or something you are working on is the renewed perspective you may have on it, because you were able to step away and come back with fresh eyes. Especially since during that hiatus, I have been able to take more dance classes, train, as well as perform in a dance company for a short while, giving me a new perspective on movement, as well as the project itself. When I looked at these images again after a long break from them, I realized how much I loved photographing dancers this way, and I needed to come back to that and put it out in the world again.

If you’re interested in doing a session, please feel free to email me.

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past dancers: elizabeth amatikristine domingo | shannon leith | kyle filley | mathew paul chounlamontry | melissa sanchez | tiffany kadani | emily pepper


2 Responses to “alyssa junious . movement from within: a dancer’s soul.”

  1. Justin Reid says:

    This photo set is really beautiful and I love the movement that you are capturing. Interestingly enough, my favorite image is the out of focus black and white image (2nd image of the set).

    Can’t wait to see more new images in this series!

  2. Hello Susan,

    I absolutely love your photographs of dancers. I first saw your work a few years ago when you were working on these photos and so happy to see them in my news feed again! Capturing movement and feeling is something I try to capture in my photos, along with a strong message, and you do this so beautifully! I look forward to seeing more!