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‘Dancers & Dogs’ Photography Captures Hearts With ‘Muttcracker’ Campaign

Kelly Pratt and Ian Kreidich are professional photographers in St. Louis with expertise in dance and movement photography. They’ve worked closely with the dancers of the St. Louis Ballet since 2014 and became well equipped to capture their graceful twists and turns.

The husband-and-wife team are also huge dog lovers, so naturally the two entities were bound to cross paths. Pratt describes what ensued in 2017 as an experiment, one to which Kreidich was initially hesitant.

“It took a little bit of convincing … It's one of those things when you actually just hear about it, and without visualizing it and really putting it together, is a little like, ‘Okay, I'll hear you out. Let's try this,’” Kreidich said on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air.

Kelly Pratt and Ian Kreidich are the professional photographers who created the "Dancers & Dogs" photography project.
Wesley Law
Kelly Pratt and Ian Kreidich are the professional photographers who created the "Dancers & Dogs" photography project.

And instantly, their “Dancers & Dogs” photography project became a hit. More than 41 million viewers tuned in to one of their first videos recapping the work they did with ballet dancers and their pet dogs of different sizes and breeds. The trend has gained popularity outside of St. Louis, leading the team to photograph other professional dancers and dogs across the country.

“I think everyone really connects with just seeing the interactions between the dancers and dogs. Dancers in the media are a lot of times shown as being maybe very serious, very dramatic. So I think our project is a little bit different and shows dancers just as silly, fun, happy people. And I think that really connects with people,” Pratt explained.

Pratt and Kreidich joined host Sarah Fenske to talk about how they conduct the photoshoots and how they hope to expand their project in the near future.

Their original goal was photographing 100 dancers and dogs, but they’re well past that mark. “We lost track after a while, once we reached our goal. We've traveled all across the country, and it’s been really great,” Kreidich said.

More than 41 million viewers tuned in to one of their first videos recapping their photography project, called “Dancers & Dogs.”

The couple is teaming up with Stray Rescue and the St. Louis Ballet for the third year in a row to present their “Muttcracker” campaign. The shelter’s adoptable dogs, and cats, are photographed with ballet dancers dressed in the Russian Nutcracker attire.

“Adding this aspect [of working with] rescue dogs that we don't really know their background, we have to kind of go at their pace and just take it really slow and easy. And a lot of these dogs amazingly just fit right in and they just go for it, and it works out great,” Kreidich said.

The husband-and-wife team now also have a kitten of their own, and hope to pay homage to feline lovers next.

“It's pretty much our worst kept secret right now that we've been planning on working on ‘Dancers & Cats.’ It was supposed to happen in 2020, but of course with everything going on, it was hard to travel and make a lot of new work. But that's our plan,” Pratt added.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Lara is a producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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