Last november I did something I never thought anyone would ever convince me to. I did a three day 1 on 1 workshop for a very persistant australian photographer. This is one of her results she just finished, beautiful Reina Sawai of Vienna State Ballet by Liz Riley.
The whole thing was pretty intensive and consisted of a portfolio review, watching a ballet from the wings, going out with the dancers, shooting two demi soloists of Vienna State Ballet in the studio under my guidance, experiencing a live performance of four ballerinas from SND for an art project of my friend Casanova Sorolla, post production and many hours of Q&A. Turned out to be a great experience for everyone involved!
So i can finally release the images from this editorial as it has been published by The Alchemist magazine (Book 3 of their September issue). It was shot way back in July, and expresses my view on the beauty & grace that goes with the art of dance
For more dance photography from Omar, follow @omarzrobles on Instagram.
“You are telling stories visually and without the need of words,” explains freelance street and dance photographer Omar Z. Robles (@omarzrobles), who is originally from Puerto Rico but now living in New York. Omar started to shoot dancers on streets when he moved to New York City three years ago, but his interest in the ability of the human body to physically share stories and emotions stems from a longtime passion for physical theater, dance and an education in the art of mime. Training under Marcel Marceau in Paris, Omar was influenced by the great French mime’s ability to tell a story without words. “It’s something I find completely exceptional,” he says.
Omar uses urban settings to add to the narrative of each photo and complement the lines of the dancer’s body, whose arabesques and jetés he anticipates. “New York is a curious place. Almost anywhere you stand, you’ve got a picture there. I try to use the busyness of the city, because it contrasts very well to the softness and delicacy of the dancer.”
Omar directs his subjects to dance with the same energy they do on stage, and looks for small adjustments to create different meanings. “The mind studies the body in segments as if they are musical notes, then you are able to come in and combine them. Little intricacies can create a different aesthetic,” he explains. “An inclination of the head can say something completely different. That can change the narrative a bit.”
“I think as a choreographer my work tends to be very physical and explosive and athletic, and I encourage that in the still photographs too,” explains Jacob Jonas, artistic director of his self-named dance company (@jacobjonasthecompany). Jacob discovered dance as a teenager living in Los Angeles; while skateboarding along Venice Beach he ran into a group of street performers and was immediately hooked. “With dance I’ve always been inspired by the people doing it rather than the moves they are doing, and that’s carried through my work today as a choreographer,” he says. A self-taught photographer, Jacob collaborates with Instagrammers to capture his dancers while on tour or outside of the rehearsal studio. He runs a monthly InstaMeet on location, #camerasanddancers, choosing unusual settings which respond to his dancers’ acrobatic movements. “I try to take each photo and make it an autobiography for the dancer — looking at the photograph you can understand who they are as people. It’s less about being flashy in their face and more about the rawness of the shot,” he says. Jacob is an advocate of staying curious and trying something new: “Encourage your friends to just go jump or do a dance pose,” he says. “You don’t have to be a professional dancer to shoot dance.”