Ballet Dancer Acts Out ‘Swan Lake’ Against the Dramatic Background of Salt Flats

Ballet dancer Sasonah Huttenbach photographed by Brad Walls at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats

Photographer Brad Walls is known for his creative aerial photography of ballet dancers. His work is already remarkable, but he just took things to a new level in his new series, Swan Lake Meets Salt Lake. Intrigued by the concept of exploring the light and dark sides of humanity, Walls sought out a unique location. This led him to Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats, where he photographed dancer Sasonah Huttenbach.

In the images, Huttenbach, a member of the New York City Ballet's Corp de Ballet, takes on the dual role of the black and the white swan. When Walls pitched the idea of the project, she was on board immediately. “I connected with the idea,” she shares. “The white and black swans depicted on the salt reflected my inner conflicts that I’ve grappled with throughout my journey as a ballet dancer living between Japan and now the U.S. Ballet has given me structure and a form of expression I adore, but such discipline is a fight against my curiosity of the world.”

Walls conducted the photoshoot entirely from the air, with the dramatic natural backdrop working exactly as he'd hoped. Creatively using Huttenbach's shadow, we see a new being projected on the white salt flats. This only reinforces the duality of the Swan Lake story.

“Depending on your state of mind, your shadow could offer comfort or reflect a darker mood,” Walls muses.

By taking ballet outside of its traditional theater setting, the photographer is also making a statement about dance. For him, it's clear that the human body can exist in harmony with nature, and the synchronicity of these images only proves this point.

Swan Lake Meets Salt Lake is one of several series set to be included in Walls' forthcoming book, which is due out in 2024.

Swan Lake Meets Salt Lake is a new series of aerial dance photography by Brad Walls.

Ballet Dancer Photographed at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats

Ballet dancer Sasonah Huttenbach photographed by Brad Walls at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats

Brad Walls Aerial Photography of Ballet Dancer at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flat

Photographed at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats, Walls asked ballet dancer Sasonah Huttenbach to portray both the black and the white swan.

Brad Walls Aerial Photography of Ballet Dancer at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flat

Ballet dancer Sasonah Huttenbach photographer at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats

Ballet dancer Sasonah Huttenbach photographer at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats

Walls used the series as a way to explore the dual nature of humanity.

Ballet Dancer Photographed at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats

Brad Walls Aerial Photography of Ballet Dancer at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flat

Ballet Dancer Photographed at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats

“Depending on your state of mind, your shadow could offer comfort or reflect a darker mood,” shared Walls.

Ballet dancer Sasonah Huttenbach photographer at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats

Ballet dancer Sasonah Huttenbach photographed by Brad Walls at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats

Ballet Dancer Photographed at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats

Ballet dancer Sasonah Huttenbach photographed by Brad Walls at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats

Ballet dancer Sasonah Huttenbach photographed by Brad Walls at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats

Ballet dancer Sasonah Huttenbach photographed by Brad Walls at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats

Brad Walls: Website | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Brad Walls.

Related Articles:

Photographer’s Aerial Photos Give a New Perspective on the Art of Ballet

Stunning Drone Photos Capture Unique Perspective of Ballet From Above

Filmmaker Slows Time to Capture Stunning Movements of Ballet Dancers

Dynamic Dancers Take to the City Streets Highlighting How the Whole World Is a Stage

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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