Luna Montana was born with a name for the spotlight, which explains her affinity for the expressive realm of dance. She was practically brought into the world already sporting a leotard and delicately laced slippers having been enrolled in classes throughout her early life. Dance quickly became the crux of her very being, providing an outlet and a safe space. “I started dancing when I was three years old,” Montana shares, “I was that kid that sat my whole family down and was like, ‘Alright, watch me. I’m gonna perform for you.’” It wasn’t long before the dance studio stood in as Luna’s haven—the creator sometimes felt she spent more time there than her own home or school. “It became my whole world so fast,” she recalls.
The sturdy wooden floors and grand mirrors of studios provided refuge for Luna as she navigated the uncertainties of girlhood. But as she matured, she began to see beyond the allure of perfectly knotted satin bows and flamboyant tulle tutus. “It was sort of that experience when your passion becomes your work and you almost start resenting it. I was going through so many mental things with ballet, body image-wise,” she vulnerably reflects. Concurrently, Montana had experienced a big move from her hometown to New York City to attend ballet school and she was seeking solace. Luna’s online community provided relief from the pitfalls of blossoming into her older self, from an intimidating new city and the scrutiny dance spurred.
“I was in a new school, and I thought, ‘You know what? I’m just going to make internet friends,’” she expresses. Creating videos was only the start. A couple of years down the line, Montana’s decision yielded an affable community that continues to guide her through even the toughest days. And in turn, Montana gets to be a ‘big sister’ to all of the girls out there who remind her of her past self. When she was younger, open spaces to express the struggles of the dance industry were rare—let alone the struggles of everyday life.
“I remember being thirteen and googling, ‘How to make out,’ or just little things every girl—or anybody—experiences. I thought, ‘Why are no YouTubers actually talking about these things?’” The dancer and creator continues, “There was one specific night in high school where I was crying; my sister came over and said, ‘Pick up your camera. Record it, and I’m sure a million girls are going to relate to you right now.’ And I did that and that was my first video that was really raw and open.”
That mission has now flourished into Montana’s podcast, On Pointe. She has grappled with mental health and approaches topics as such, facilitating a safe space for younger generations. “When I got diagnosed with OCD, it was such an eye-opener for me. All of these things that I had started hating myself for, I finally found an answer for,” says Montana, “I’m in a place now where I need to be very gentle with myself and remind myself, ‘Okay, this is a life experience that I get to share and help other people.’”
Now that she has built this warm community, Montana hopes to be able to continue providing visibility to the underbelly of the dance world and providing a helping hand to others. “I definitely want to keep combining dance into everything that I love now—maybe I’ll get into acting and some more choreographing. And hopefully, help a lot of girls along the way.”
Photography Dennis Leupold
Fashion Christopher Campbell
Makeup Rob Rumsey (A-Frame)
Hair Patricia Morales (The Visionaries)
Executive producer Johnny Pascucci (Photobomb)
Production coordinator Merry Nestor (Photobomb)
Photo assistant Charles Brown
Stylist assistant Alexis Kossel
Make up assistant Gabriela Vega
Hair assistants Jessica Arriaga, Luna Vela
Location Dust Studios