Featured Dancer-Marley Whitmer

For those who absolutely must dance!

Ashley Lodge loves to dance. What she loves even more than dancing herself is photographing others dancing.  Capturing the spirit and moments of the individual dancer is one of her specialties, and it is a pleasure to feature some of the most talented young men and women to grace her lens.

This month we are featuring Marley Whitmer, Local business owner and dancer. Check out her work at Dance Elite!

1. How did you get started? Were you young?

I began dancing in baby combo classes when I was 3 years old in Boulder City, Nevada at Dance Etc. And I’m dinosaur age now so let’s say 25+ years.

2. What is your favorite style of dance and why?  

I really love contemporary dance with a heavy dance Acro presence that is founded in strong ballet technique. I love the strength, technique, and conviction it requires to dance this style well.

3. Your award winning choreography is so beautiful it inspires others to want to be professional dancers and choreographers. What inspires you? 

I pull from so many influences! You are never too talented to learn from other artists, and that is exactly what I try to do. I dig deep into my eclectic background from Fosse, Graham, Broadway, jazz, and Russian ballet training and I strive to create pieces that are entertaining, technically sound, highlight the dancer’s best features, and always have a little bit of flare and polish.

4. As a dancer, what has been your most proud moment?

I loved being on stage as a dancer but, the most proud moment in my dance life is without a doubt watching my Elite Company dancers win on regional and national platforms. It never gets old watching your hard work translate into confidence, strength, and success in young dancers. I adore these children, and I’m truly blessed by God to have the opportunity to pour into them everyday. 

5. You lead the Elite Competition Squad, did you compete as a child? How has that shaped you into the woman/dancer you are today?

I did compete as a child and loved every minute of it! The competition route is a tough one, but ultimately so rewarding. You are told “no” a lot and are critiqued relentlessly but, I wouldn’t be the dancer or teacher I am today without constant hours of pushing myself, facing rejection, and overcoming the obstacles I did in competition world.

6.There is more to Marley than dance, what others passions do you enjoy? 

I am passionate about Jesus Christ, my husband and my son, my three dogs, and anything to do with outdoor adventures. I try to combine all four of those things in my down time as frequently as possible!

7. Tell us a little bit about your studio! 

My mom and I opened Dance Elite with the idea that great dance training and opportunity shouldn’t rely on proximity to a large city. Students shouldn’t settle for less than their true potential due to geographical location. We pride ourselves in developing well rounded dancers with competency in multiple dance genres, distinguished ballet technique, and athletic artistry that can lead them to love, respect, and potentially join the fine arts community.

8. Advice for aspiring dancers and ballerinas? 

I am a firm believer in the power of prayer, determination, and solid training. Pray thankfully about your strengths and humbly about your weaknesses and desires. Practice relentlessly; if the studio doors are open be there, and if they aren’t work out or stretch at home or with friends. Lastly, find a studio with a group of teachers that are devoted to your future and understand your goals so they can tailor your training effectively. 

To become a featured dancer, book your session and interview today-

423-231-2839 | ashleylodgephotography@gmail.com

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