Athletic Ballet Dancers Photographed on the Streets of Melbourne

Phoebe Collins

For over four years, Omar Z. Robles has been photographing ballet dancers from companies around the world. Placing them in an urban setting, he’s able to capture a different view of classical dance—one that is more egalitarian. On a recent trip to Melbourne, Robles was reminded of just how much his work can touch the public.

While in Australia, Robles was met with challenges. In fact, for the first time, he had a dancer cancel their shoot at the last minute, as the dancer’s company didn’t feel his work aligned with their branding. Determined to carry on with the project, but understandably feeling a bit defeated, Robles hit the streets of Melbourne with a different dancer. And it was there that a woman named Sylvie reminded him of why he does what he does.

“It was 4pm-ish one afternoon. I was photographing a dancer in the middle of the tram tracks right next to Flinders Station,” Robles writes. “Crowds of people walked in and out of the station at a time. Suddenly, I heard a loud gasp behind me. I stopped to look. A woman held her hand to her chest, eyes wide open as was her mouth. Standing in awe, a moment now recorded in my mind forever. She turned to me and said ‘I’m so amazed!! In 65 years that I have lived in Melbourne, I have never seen such a beautiful thing. A ballet dancer performing in the middle of the streets.’ Her name was Sylvie. With teary eyes, she walked over to the dancer, gave her a big hug, and left us. My heart dropped, I cried inside a little. She had made my day in a way she didn’t even realize.”

Robles’ story is a reminder that it can sometimes be difficult for artists to understand just how their creativity can affect the general public. Artwork gets published, hung in a gallery, and shared online, but most times the creators aren’t around to hear the impact. By bringing classical dance to the world in an innovative way, Robles is helping a whole new audience appreciate the athleticism of ballet dancers.

It took a stranger’s appreciation to snap Robles back into the power he possesses as an artist. Through his creative decisions and collaborations, he’s opened up the world of dance to the masses, stripping it of its elite trappings and pushing it out into the streets. The lesson learned in Melbourne is one that Robles will remember.

“I shall never again forget or question the weight of my work. Of how utterly strong and transformative art can be. It appeals to the very core of our existence and offers us [an] escape from everyday struggles. Art is power. I will always be gratified to be a vessel to that power. Not for the few but for all.

While photographing ballet dancers in Melbourne, Omar Z. Robles was reminded of just how powerful his art can be.

Dance Photography in Melbourne Omar Z. Robles

Nana Yamamoto

Omar Z. Robles - Melbourne Dance Photography

Tessa Puttnick

Dance Photography in Melbourne Omar Z. Robles

As he was photographing a ballet dancer, a woman named Sylvie approached the scene.

Omar Z. Robles - Melbourne Dance Photography

Tessa Puttnick

Omar Z. Robles - Melbourne Dance Photography

Mia Thorley

Dance Photography in Melbourne Omar Z. Robles

Tessa Puttnick

Dance Photography in Melbourne Omar Z. Robles

Olivia Paine

“I’m so amazed ! In 65 years that I have lived in Melbourne, I have never seen such a beautiful thing. A ballet dancer performing in the middle of the streets,” she exclaimed.

Omar Z. Robles - Melbourne Dance Photography

Ella Chambers

Omar Z. Robles - Melbourne Dance Photography

Clarabelle Ling

Dance Photography in Melbourne Omar Z. Robles

Clarabelle Ling

Omar Z. Robles - Melbourne Dance Photography

Maria Peker

With tears in her eyes, she hugged the dancer and went on her way, but her words stayed with Robles.

Omar Z. Robles - Melbourne Dance Photography

Tessa Puttnick

Omar Z. Robles - Melbourne Dance Photography

Left: Tessa Puttnick / Right: Nana Yamamoto

“No matter where my works end up being hanged or collected some day, I will never get the same satisfaction or forget moments like the one I experienced with Sylvie.”

Dance Photography in Melbourne Omar Z. Robles

Ezlimar Dortolina

Omar Z. Robles - Melbourne Dance Photography

Ella Chambers

The post Athletic Ballet Dancers Photographed on the Streets of Melbourne appeared first on My Modern Met.

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The Revival of the Handwritten Love Letter

The handwritten letter is romantic, poetic and sensual. It’s more permanent, purposeful, engaging, reflective, thoughtful, individualized and requires and more effort than a cold electronic email message.

In many ways, emails, texting and instant messaging have brought back some of the qualities of letter writing skills, although for many people, it has taken away the allure of the stamped letter mailed at the corner mailbox. Even though most of my day is spent at the computer composing emails, I do have a drawer totally dedicated to stationary and note paper. After all, an email is not a ‘real’ letter and in many ways receiving a stamped letter delivered by the mailman seems to hold more weight and be more credible. It is just so precious. Although we can save emails, there is nothing like saving a handwritten letter, something we have stored away, a piece of paper which reminds us of a particular person. Sometimes the paper might even hold their fragrance.

Word processors are ubiquitous now, but holding a hand-written letter elicits different feelings than a typewritten one.  Writing a handwritten letter is the next best thing to showing up at someone’s door. A hand-written letter also holds the story of the letter’s journey, perhaps across many miles. It holds the spirit and energy of the person who wrote it in a very tangible way.

When each of my children were born I wrote them a letter. When my grandmother died, when I was ten, I wrote her a letter and continue to do so when I have the need to be connected with her. When my father died, twenty-five years ago, I wrote him a letter. All my children are grown and every so often I love sending them a handwritten note or card. I hope they cherish it as much as I do.

To write a handwritten letter, all you need is stationary which reflects your personality, a smooth-moving pen and sealing wax.

Here are some tips for writing love letters:

  • State purpose of your letter
  • Recall a romantic memory
  • Write what you love about the person
  • Write about how your life has changed since your meeting
  • Reaffirm your love
  • Summarize with a potent phrase, such as “I can’t wait to grow old with you.”

If you want to get inspired by wonderful letter writers, check out the following books:

de Ayala, R. (1999). Illustrated Letters: Artists and Writers Correspond. New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams.

Gunwald, L, and S. J. Adler, Eds. (2005). Women’s Letters: America from the Revolutionary War to the Present. New York, NY: Dial Press.

Fitzpatrick, E., ed. (2010). Letters to Jackie: Condolences from a Grieving Nation. New York, NY: Harper Collins.

Tamplin, R., Ed. (1995). Famous Love Letters:  Messages of Intimacy and Passion. Pleasantville, NY: Reader’s Digest.