Saving Ballet

Ballet is dying. There is no other way to say it nicely, but it is an art form that reached its peak in 2000 or so. A part of tradition, perfected with time and science, mastered by the souls that evoked the deepest emotions, ballet represents the best of culture. It is no wonder why photographers, and prior to photography, fine artists (painters, illustrators etc) love to capture dancers. Nowadays, it seems everyone is capturing dancers via social media, and it just might save ballet.

Ballet & Fashion

It isn’t a surprise that the two go hand in hand. What designer doesn’t love a women with long limbs, elegance that comes naturally, and a sophistication in the simplicity of tights and a leotard. In edition, what designer isn’t inspired going to the ballet? The theaters, the lighting, the music, the costumes, the collaboration of it all to capture a mood, it is quite grandiose. It is why Vogue always leaves space for dancers, it is why ballet comes up in multiple collections a season, and it is why stylists always pay tribute to the Ballets Russes. (Okay, I was kind of obligated to somehow relate dance & fashion since I work in fashion, but now moving on to my main point…)

Ballet, Photography and Social Media 

There are the big names of dance photography: Gene Schiavone, Marty Sohl, Lois Greenfield, and Rosalie O’connor.  Now, I have always questioned whether or not they are good photographers, no offense, but here is why. As a fashion editor, it is my job to look through a photographer’s film and decide what photos are good, what photos are bad, what sells product, what is relatable and so on…. As I look at the older generation of dance photographers, who have carved their own path in the world, i wonder if the photos are genuinely good because they know ballet and can capture the height of a jump? Or are they good because of the subject matter, and the name that is associated with the image… Regardless, the photos are breathtaking and show off the best of the best in ballet… But there are new comers to the world of dance photography who I believe might just save ballet…

Why?

Ballet has always been for those who have…. It has always been a hoity-toity, white as a lilly, satin glove kind of affair. These photographers who have graciously created stunning images, and have shared it across social media might just be making ballet more accessible. What does that mean? It means, people are really starting to talk ballet again, and seats might just be filling up again. These photographers have started projects under work under the names of:

Ballet Zaida (Oliver Endahl), The Ballerina Project (Dane Shitagi), NYC Dance Project (Ken Browar), Travis Magee, RJ Muna

Other dance photographers who have taken a more classic approach, either studio or stage: Erin Baiano, Rachel NevilleChris Peddecord,  Brian Mengini 

These amazing photographers have collaborated with some of the most amazing ballet dancers to create art. 

In edition, dancers have decided to take the public behind the scenes and showcase the intimate moments of their lives both on stage and off stage: Daniil Simkin (IG: daniil), and Maria Kochetkova (IG: balletrusse).

Now both Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, and other various magazines have published their list of the most stunning photos on IG of ballet… The reality is, they probably just hashtagged and searched… Ironically most of the pictures were of Misty Copeland (nothing against her, #justsayin)… As these photos were not fully credited, just credited to the accounts who published them, despite whether or not having the rights to the photos…. I guess publicity is good no matter what for ballet. 

As some of the most beautiful ballet photos were not on that list… either way here are some of my favorites via the IG. (Our IG is @aBalletEducation)

Victor Mateos Arellano in Resin, photo by RJ Muna
Victor Mateos Arellano in Resin, photo by RJ Muna
Ballet Zaida photographing Madison Keesler
Ballet Zaida photographing Madison Keesler
Australian Ballet Jubilee | Will Davidson | Vogue Australia November 2012
Australian Ballet Jubilee | Will Davidson | Vogue Australia November 2012
Ramon Gaitan, photographed by Alexandra Rose for Social Culture
Ramon Gaitan, photographed by Alexandra Rose for Social Culture
David Hallberg in Once upon a dance for Fashion Muse
David Hallberg in Once upon a dance for Fashion Muse
Photographer Erwin Olaf, Dutch National Ballet
Photographer Erwin Olaf, Dutch National Ballet
Photo by: Ian Gavan of Ellie Sharpe of the English National Ballet prepare in the wings during a dress rehearsal of Swan Lake at the Coliseum on August 3, 2012 in London, England.
Photo by: Ian Gavan of Ellie Sharpe of the English National Ballet prepare in the wings during a dress rehearsal of Swan Lake at the Coliseum on August 3, 2012 in London, England.
Unknown.
Unknown.

Now with all the hype with bad commercials like Free People and good commercials like Under Armor and Lexus… Here is one of the first ballet commercials featuring dancers from National Ballet of Korea for Levis:

 

 

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