What better way to celebrate body than to zoom in on a woman who uses hers as the ultimate expressive tool? Though ballroom dancers are rarely found without their partners, we stole Latin dance champion Yulia Zagoruychenko away for a couple of hours of rare undivided attention in a tiny midtown Manhattan dance studio.

Take a behind-the-scenes look at the shoot, featured in the Body issue, and hear our impressions from that fierce afternoon.


NatalieAnn Rich, art director:

Shooting with Yulia was an amazing experience. Because she’s so aware of her body and so ready to move, she hardly needed any direction at all. There really wasn’t a single moment that I wasn’t in awe of her energy and her presence. I think by the end of the shoot I became as big a Yulia fan as Allison. And if you talk to Allison you’ll know her love and admiration for Yulia are endless!

Tramaine George, photographer:

Doing this shoot brought back childhood memories of watching ballroom dancing on PBS with my mom and being in awe of the dancers’ performances. I myself was a dancer, mainly ballet, so seeing them perfect their style and do it with such passion in each move had me in awe.

My goal when photographing Yulia was to convey those passionate movements in an bare environment. I wanted to let the viewer see the true form and flow of Yulia’s body outside of the gorgeous yet outlandish costumes of competitive ballroom dance. Dancing, whether ballet or ballroom, must convey effortlessness; that is what I wanted to capture. tramainegeorge.com

AWT Photo Shoot with Photo Shoot with Yulia Zagoruychenko
Laura, NatalieAnn, Tramaine, Yulia and Allison

Laura Mitchell, hair and makeup artist:

Yulia was absolutely lovely and warm from the beginning and was so easy to do. I decided to go with a very natural makeup look to accentuate her already beautiful features, with loose, straightened hair that could move with her as she danced. mitchellmakeup.com

Allison Geller, editor:

There was no reason that I had to attend this photoshoot, as Yulia and I had already completed our interview. But there was no way I was going to miss it! As an amateur ballroom dancer, admiration doesn’t quite express how I feel about Yulia’s technical virtuosity, precision and charisma. (Just ask NatalieAnn!) Though I’d seen Yulia compete and perform many times, this was the first time I had the chance to watch her in action in such an intimate setting. I felt like I learned something profound just by watching her complete commitment at every moment in front of the camera. And I’m so grateful to our amazingly talented team for making it happen while I stood back and fangirled!

Click here to get the Body issue, featuring Yulia Zagoruychenko and other amazing women!