Have you just passed a ballet dancer ?

Dancers Among Us

Ballet NEWS WORLD EXCLUSIVE Dancers Among Us Photography throughout : Jordan Matter

I’m always struck by how unrecognised ballet dancers are once they leave the vacinity of the theatre where they work. Of course, if you hang aound the stage door, you probably know who you want to see and will recognise them, but once those dancers step out into the real world, they largely go about their business completely unnoticed. I once observed a couple stop Carlos Acosta and ask him for directions (which he gave), blithely unaware that thay had asked one of our greatest ballet dancers for directions.  

Dancers Among Us

Tenealle - Dancers Among Us


It wasn’t always so.  In the days of Margot Fonteyn there would be a veritable scrum as the dancers left the stage door, and Margot would be recognised wherever she went.  She was a glamorous, worldwide star.     

Dancers Among Us

Tenealle - Dancers Among Us Matter had a few seconds in the Apple store to capture this shot

So I’m fascinated to find Jordan Matter photographing dancers bursting out of their unrecognised state, immediately transforming them into the dancer we know so well, but in an every day setting.  Matter believes that although the dancers are going about their daily lives, they do so as dancers – because dance is an ingrained way of life for professionals – and he wants to reflect this exciting refraction in his photography.  The dancers volunteer, showing their passion and commitment.  When you look at the image of the dancer with the umbrella, have a close look at how hard it’s raining and imagine how slippery the pavement would be.  She jumped 96 times !  Without complaint.      

Dancers Among Us

Dancers Among Us

One of the reasons that I really want to share Matter’s work with you is because of the magical reaction he gets when photographing on the street.  People who know nothing of the elete athlete behind the dancer are amazed by the power and physical transformation.  Throwing an arabesque while carrying your shopping isn’t something you see every day !     

Dancers Among Us

Dancers Among Us

If people engage with and are fascinated by the dancers without knowing a thing about ballet, it makes the logical next step of seeing what they actually do while dancing, more interesting.  It’s not such a giant step into the unknown; and who wants to spend money (sometimes a lot of money) on something they can’t be certain they’ll enjoy when they are already cutting back in other areas ?      

Dancers Among Us

Selina - Dancers Among Us

Gone are the tutus and stage effects – spotlights, wigs, costumes and scenery.  Here they literally burst out of the picture at you going about everyday tasks – shopping, catching a tube, leaving coins for a street musician.  Who doesn’t want to dance in the rain at least once in their lives ?     

Adrienne - Dancers Among Us

Matter created a short video to capture people’s reactions while he was working. You should take a look!  Not only that, but he explains why spontaneity is always best for creativity, and how the “knee jerk reaction” when he asks for permission to photograph is always “no.”  So, mostly he doesn’t, with interesting results in the Apple store !    

Alyssa - Dancers Among Us

How wonderful to see this happen before your very eyes.  Enjoy the gallery of images and as ever, do let me know what you think.     

Dorothy OShea

Dancers Among Us

Dancers Among Us

Dancers Among Us

, , , ,

11 Responses to Have you just passed a ballet dancer ?

  1. Violetta Medvedeva August 28, 2010 at 1:01 pm #

    Impressed me and SOooooooooooo enjoyable to see that GREAT work of this photograph!!!

    Thank you many,many times for share,


  2. Rebecca King August 28, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

    Such a great article. I love the photos! The girl in red in the rain is my favorite. So exciting.

  3. Odette August 28, 2010 at 4:19 pm #

    Such a wonderful and intriguing idea for photography – it makes the dancers stand out and be recognized for the rare talent they have.

    Thank you, a delightful article and superb photographs!

  4. Henrik August 28, 2010 at 6:22 pm #

    Love the pics, the idea is great! But what I really wanted to comment is your great header on the site, I LOVE it! Great pic, very functional and still looking great!!!
    Henrik from Tightsandtiaras.com

  5. Ballet News Admin August 28, 2010 at 6:39 pm #

    Violetta Medvedeva – thank you – really pleased you liked them

    Rebecca King – I don’t think I could pick a favourite, but I agree that one is particularly striking.

    Odette – thank you very much; it’s great that you enjoyed the feature

    Henrik – thank you ! Daria takes a mean photo when she’s not dancing ! It really inspired the whole look of my site so I’m glad you like it so much

  6. Tarzan Dan August 28, 2010 at 9:50 pm #

    BRILLIANT!!! I LOVE the image with the red umbrella… sooo cool 🙂
    Creative and true to his idea… well done… Congrats to Jordan….
    and Thank you to Ballet News for giving us creative types
    a focus from behind the lens!!! CONGRATS on the new site!
    Cheers Dan

  7. Maria Louise August 28, 2010 at 11:36 pm #

    I love dancing everywhere and it is great fun to see these beautiful athletes so effortlessly portraying their prowess in everyday situations.

  8. yvonne August 29, 2010 at 1:30 pm #

    Just think of the beauty they bring to the streets,,
    pretty post,

  9. Audrey Allure August 29, 2010 at 2:20 pm #

    These are such beautiful shots, and I love the ones by the fountains and the one by the Pollack painting.

  10. Make Do Style August 30, 2010 at 11:42 am #

    All so striking but the rain and red are photographic genius!

  11. Imogen Dent September 3, 2010 at 2:00 pm #

    Gorgeous photos!

    On the subject of seeing dancers in the street etc, I’ve frequently seen one of my favourite members of the Royal Ballet on the tube and am always struck by the fact he is less tall and a lot better looking in the flesh than he looks on stage – and also, I’m afraid, by how tired he looks… I’ve never had the nerve to speak to him as I respect his right to go home in peace and quiet after an evening’s work. But when I recently saw Ed Watson and Christopher Wheeldon chatting outside a restaurant I’m afraid I did a huge double take and grinned goofily at them both like an idiot. Most embarrassing…

    Have never seen anything as amazing as some of these pics, though…