The Beauty of Ballet From Above

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Today is World Ballet Day—and to mark the occasion, Brad Walls is giving us a look at ballerinas as we’ve never seen them: from above. (Even though we have on occasion come close in the cheap seats.)

PRINT readers may know the Australian photographer’s work from his zen-like swimming pool series. For “ballerina de l’air,” he drew inspiration from an image by Olive Cotton, “Teacup Ballet.”

“Most people had seen ballet photographed traditionally, and while those photos are undeniably beautiful, I wanted to rewrite the composition, purely focusing on the unique shapes and shadows of the artform,” Walls says.

To do so, he secured two shooting locations—a warehouse with concrete floors, offering a contrast to ballet’s gentle and articulated movements, and an event space with tiling that would complement a ballerina’s tutu—and approached Australian Ballet corps de ballet member Montana Rubin as his subject. Given that she was not performing on stage due to COVID-19, she was up for the job, noting, “With his clean aesthetic and attention to detail, I was excited to see how our worlds could mesh. Brad’s unique viewpoint also gave me an opportunity to see my artform quite literally from a different perspective.”

See some of the results below. For more, stay tuned to Walls’ Instagram.