Note: As of July 2020 I suspended the creative phase of the project. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity within the project to collaborate with nearly 40 dancers, representing a remarkable diversity of backgrounds, movement styles, and quarantine situations. I encourage interested Bay Area dancers to contact me about opportunities we may have to work together outside this particular project. Please see my Dance Photography page to learn more and to be in touch!

Dear SF Bay Area Dancers,

I invite you to participate in my "Something Heroic and Distanced" Project  (the former working title was "Dance Like Nobody's Watching" Project). The basic outline is simple. I plan to partner with a number of dancers representing as many dance genres as possible, including ballet, jazz, modern, contemporary, hip hop, aerial, pole, samba, Latin, salsa, Kathak, Bharatanatyam, Garba, belly dance, Thai classical dance, other folk dance styles from around the world, etc. Diversity among dance styles and dancers is key here.

Professional and pre-professional dancers will have priority, but student and amateur dancers will also be included. Each dancer will propose a plan to perform briefly (~15 minutes) in or around their home in a location that I can photograph remotely. For example, you may have a balcony, yard, garden, rooftop, or even a prominent door or window from which I can capture your dance from a distance of six feet or further, without my having to enter your home. We will decide in advance regarding the choreography (simple or improvised movement is best), costume/props, dancer location, photographer location, date/time, and overall style of the shoot. Solo dancers will be the norm, but if two or more members of the same household are all dancers, we can include them. I plan to adhere to all rules of sheltering-in-place, so we will be limited with regard to the locations and times that I can shoot. I’ve got several allowable essential trips that will take me from SF down to SJ over the next couple of weeks, and any deviation from the most direct routing must be for recreational walking in the neighborhood.

Please let me know if you’re interested in participating. Participating dancers will each receive several finished high-resolution images at no cost (you may know that under normal circumstances a private shoot with a top-tier pro photographer costs upwards of $1000), full credit in all channels where the project will be shared/published, and the possibility of benefiting from any publicity generated. Additionally, I believe this project will be an inspiration to other artists to continue creating right now as well as a way to document this bizarre chapter in our collective history. If I am able to schedule a short (15-minute) “distanced photo shoot” based on your proposal, I will require you to sign a standard model release, which I will send to you via email in advance of the shoot. You will not receive payment nor will you be charged for your participation. Any revenue generated by sales or publication of the images during the COVID-19 quarantine, I will donate to a local Bay Area not-for-profit to help those in most need right now. After life returns to some semblance of normalcy, I reserve the right to retain earnings from any subsequent sales deriving from this project.

Looking forward to working with as many of you as possible over the next few weeks! Please PM me with your interest and ideas, via email to, FB Messenger, or IG Direct.

With warm regards and much hope for the future,


Erin Yen

Erin Yen

S.H.A.D. For Dancers

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