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Review-Journal visual journalist wins Emmy for dance group video

Members of the dance group Brothers are Radically Superb (BARS) don’t want to be in a gang, so they choose dance.

“Not everyone has to face that kind of a decision,” said Rachel Aston, a Las Vegas Review-Journal visual journalist who took home an Emmy on Saturday night for her video, “Brothers Are Radically Superb.”

Aston, 27, was only a month into her career at the newspaper when she found Marcus Henderson, Anthony Burnett, Rashawn Young and Latazsha Reese — members of the group BARS — turfing, bone breaking and popping along Fremont Street.

“They stuck out to me versus the other performers, especially other dancers, for their bone-breaking style,” Aston said. “It’s not something that’s super common. It was impressive.”

She chose them for the weekly Vegas Stripped profile series — visual poetry storytelling — and received the Pacific Southwest Emmy Award in the category of News – Arts/Entertainment – Single Story or Series, for her work.

“She digs, digs, digs, until she finds the beauty in the everyday,” said Kevin Cannon, Las Vegas Review-Journal photo editor. “What she does with every video, and that one especially, is what I call visual poetry. That video was just a feast for the eyes, and obviously the judges thought so too. I’m just bursting with pride.”

Cannon hired Aston, who is a May 2015 graduate of San Francisco State University, after he saw her portfolio of work.

“She didn’t have a large portfolio, but, from the few work samples she sent me, I could tell she had a very special and unique eye,” Cannon said.

Aston said she believes the opening of her piece stood out to the judges.

“The opening is solid,” she said. “You have to have some intrigue in the beginning, or you won’t keep watching.”

While her video on the dancers earned her an Emmy, Aston said she’s not done telling their story. She plans to further explore what it means to choose to dance in order to stay out of a gang.

She also wants to continue to improve on her work, regardless of whether it wins her an award.

“I need to do better, because they deserve better,” she said. “I want to get better at telling the story.”

Aston was also nominated for her piece, Chaos Itself, in the category of, News – Human Interest – Single Story or Series.

“Rachel Aston, as with all of our visual journalists, is always on the prowl for stories that enlighten, entertain and provide strong visual possibilities. Her photography, editing and approach to her Emmy winning story, ‘Vegas Stripped: Bone-Breaking Improv,’ was meticulously produced and impossible not to watch at least twice,” Review-Journal Editor-in-Chief Keith Moyer said. “Rachel is an excellent example of the many talented RJ journalists who do their best to make sure our readers are fully informed of what’s happening in the truly unique city that is Las Vegas.”

Contact Natalie Bruzda at nbruzda@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3897. Find @NatalieBruzda on Twitter.

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