Gratitude—that’s what New York-based photographer Omar Robles took away with him after his latest experience photographing ballet dancers in urban backdrops. Following his recent trip to Cuba, the talented photographer took his project to Mexico City with the support of Fujifilm, where he once again connected with gifted local dancers to create a striking series of images. The grace, elegance, and athleticism of the dancers’ craft is on full display in Robles’ photography.
What began in New York is now taking on further significance as a glimpse into the international community—and the public’s reaction to these spontaneous bursts of action. In this case, Mexico’s deep rooted traditions were readily apparent, as Robles’ trip coincided with the Day of the Dead. “Bold and vibrant colors everywhere, mirroring the character of the people who call the city home,” Robles recounts. “The same who curiously stood by while I photographed the dancers and in many occasions even offered ovations after witnessing our shoots. They clapped and cheered the dancers after we were finished shooting at a location.”
The applause came as a shock, as the photographer had gotten used to a completely different attitude in New York. “Often while shooting here in NYC, people often pass us by, perhaps softly shaking their heads producing a chuckle spiced with a slight hint of cynicism. Some will try to steal a picture of the moment. A few will even go as far as boldly expressing discomfort if they feel we are interrupting their way. The Mexican applause thus definitely took me by surprise.”
And for Robles, it was this difference that has stayed with him—the gratitude in the eyes of the public, who were appreciative for the small change in their daily routine. More than staging an image, Robles’ work captures the moment—the exuberance, refinement, and grace that each dancer embodies and how that translates to the public.
My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Omar Z. Robles.