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A Danceable City

Master portrait artist Marla Michele Must combines dance and portraiture in the streets of Downtown Birmingham.

Article by Danielle Alexander

Photography by Marla Michele Must, Master Portrait Artist

Originally published in Birmingham City Lifestyle

Local master portrait artist Marla Michele Must has had a camera in her hand since she was very young. As a Birmingham resident, she thought it would be fun to portray her charming “walkable city” as a “danceable city.”

Must moved to Birmingham 10 years ago to not only be closer to The Roeper School where her son, Jake, attended school but to give her daughters, Ava Rose and Sasha Jade, the opportunity to be in the Birmingham Public School district. 

“I enjoy city life and seeing people outside walking all the time,” Must said about Birmingham. “I love the location and proximity to everything. I can jump onto Woodward to head down to Detroit or the freeways. It’s fun to be close to the shopping district.” 

Having been a dancer herself, Must said combining dance and portraiture is a dream for her. In addition to Downtown Birmingham, she has also photographed dancers in Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Canada and more.

“Much thought goes into selecting locations, clothing, the time of year and style of dance,” Must explained.

While photographing, timing is everything, and whether her subject is a graceful and elegant ballet dancer or a vibrant and full-of-life lyrical dancer, she takes the moves of the individual and, through adding advanced hand editing artistry to balance all elements of each portrait, turns them into works of art.

“Documenting that journey through portraiture is a beautiful way to show your dancing portfolio, as well as how far you’ve come since the beginning of your dance days,” Must’s website,, reads.

Must said she is currently looking for three advanced dancers to offer complimentary sessions to. If interested, contact her studio Enchanted Photography by Marla Michele Must at (248)-910-0555.