Deborah Ory

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DEBORAH ORY, along with her husband, Ken Browar, are the creative geniuses behind the NYC Dance Project, which showcases the wonderful world of dance in New York City through their world-renowned photography. Deborah started dancing at the age of 7, and continued to pursue this passion until she faced a stress fracture in her hip during college, which prevented her from performing. After her injury, she came across the world of photography. Little did she know that this would soon become her new passion, and would change the direction of her career. During rehearsals, she photographed the dancers in motion and eventually landed positions in photo editorship for various well-known magazines and editorial shoots. Through her work, she has featured dancers from leading dance companies, and her photographs have received attention and praise from all over the world.


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Q&A with Deborah

Can you share the story of how you got injured and what the recovery experience was like?

I was injured in my freshman year of college.  I had started at University of Michigan as a dance major and to my disappointment had a stress fracture after my first semester.   It was heartbreaking to me to have to take time off when I was just beginning the dance program, however it gave me a great opportunity to get to explore the many offerings at this great University.   I had always loved photography, so this was a perfect chance to try a class.  I photographed the rehearsals I was supposed to be in and this allowed me to stay active in the dance community.

What advice would you share with dancers recovering from injury?

As an athlete or dancer, an injury can very much affect your identity also can bring up anxiety about who you are and where your career is going.  It’s important to realize that sometimes injuries can be actually be a blessing and give us new ways of working – either as an athlete or in a different capacity within the field.  Injuries do happen to almost everyone and they can be as painful mentally as they are physically. Taking the time to heal and get to a better place is not easy, but can help us grow.


At what point did you decide that you would retire from dance completely, and pursue a new career path?

After I graduated from college, I came to the decision to pursue photography rather than dancing.  As much as I loved dancing, I also loved photography and it seemed to be a better career path for me at that time.

How did you stay motivated during the recovery phase, and while pursuing your new career?

I believe that people who are talented in one area, likely have talents they may not yet have discovered in other areas.  Finding another passion to pursue really helped me recover and made me realize dance was not the only way for me to have a creative outlet. 

What did you learn through this injury experience?

Without my injury, I probably would not have discovered photography.   Things happen for a reason, sometimes it can take us a while to see what the reason is, but taking some time off to regroup is never a bad thing!


Thank you Deborah for sharing your story with athletes across the globe!