dottie dillard

toney dillard

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Dottie Dillard

At a young age, Dottie studied ballet with Nina Stroganova and Lisan Kay at the internationally known Ballet Arts Studio, “Studio 61” in Carnegie Hall. She later was awarded a full scholarship with American Ballet Theatre in New York City where she studied with Dimitri Romanoff, Alexandra Danilova and other noted instructors. From ages 15 to 17, while continuing her classes at ABT, she was a member of the Radio City Music Hall ballet company. For 5 years she was a principal dancer with the Denver Company of American Ballet Theatre.

Graduating “Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities” with degrees in English, French and Education, she was hired by the Department of Defense as a teacher in the school system for dependent military children in Germany. There she met her husband, Toney. With a love for travel, she has lived in 2 foreign countries and traveled in over 40 others.

Dottie is a self-taught photographer – originally with an emphasis on nature photography. She photographed her first ballet performance in 1997 and subsequently embraced dance photography with a passion that reflects her knowledge and love of that art form. All of her photographs have been taken during live performances or rehearsals.

Specializing in performance photography, she has photographed some of the greatest dancers in the world including several gold medal winners. One of these dancers, Lucia Lacarra, was presented the prestigious Nijinsky Award in 2002 for the best female dancer in the world and in 2011, at the World Ballet Stars Gala in St. Petersburg, she was named the Dancer of the Decade.

Dottie was the company photographer with Ballet Internationale, which was under the artistic direction of world-renowned dancer and choreographer Eldar Aliev, who was a principal dancer for thirteen years with the Kirov Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia. The assistant artistic director of Ballet Internationale was Irina Kolpakova – former Prima Ballerina Assoluta of the Kirov Ballet and partner of Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rudolf Nureyev. Prior to joining Ballet Internationale, Ms. Kolpakova served as ballet mistress at American Ballet Theatre, where she now continues in that position.

Other ballet companies that Dottie has photographed include San Francisco Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Metropolitan Classical Ballet, and The National Ballet of Washington at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Her images have been published in all of the major dance magazines and she was chosen as one of the artists to be represented in the book Artists Among Us – 100 Faces of Art in Spartanburg. She has won numerous awards in photography competitions – including several 1st place awards. She was one of 157 winners out of over 50,000 international entries in the American Photo Magazine contest 2004. Many of her photographs have been chosen for multiple Spoleto Festival juried art exhibitions as well as being on exhibit at The Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, CO, Spencer Art Gallery in Charleston, SC, Courtenay Gallery at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC, Photographers’ Gallery in Denver, CO, Down Townes Gallery in Greenville, SC, Upstairs [Artspace] in Tryon, NC, Lawson Academy of the Arts Recital Hall at Converse College in Spartanburg, SC, and Carolina Gallery in Spartanburg, SC. She is a member of the Charleston Artist Guild and the Artists' Guild of Spartanburg.

“They’ll take your breath away!” --Main Street Dancewear


"As a former professional dancer, I am able to anticipate the fleeting magical moments during a performance and capture the choreography at its technical and emotional peak. As a nature photographer, I feel an intimate connection between nature and dance – in the purity of line, the elegance of form, the inherent grace, and the spiritual mystique. My goal is to portray the exquisite beauty of dance and nature from an artistic point of view. Through my unique personal style, I hope to present a sense of universal timelessness by recording the essence of a moment in time, creating images that are more like paintings than photographs."



gallery affiliations :

Carolina Gallery Carolina Gallery
Spartanburg, SC

other affiliations :

Carolina Gallery Artists' Guild of Spartanburg
Spartanburg, SC
Carolina Gallery Charleston Artist Guild
Charleston, SC
the artist index The Artist Index
of Upstate S.C. & Western N.C.
the artist index Dancers over 40

other affiliate links :

dance photography
rental opportunities • Sleeping BeautyA 1001 NightsLe CorsaireCopellia (costumes only) • InterzoneGiselleLa Fille Mal Gardee The FirebirdPhaedraPaquitaCarmen