Street Photography Turns Spotlight On Puerto Rican Ballerinas

Photographing ballerinas is nothing new for Omar Robles, but after three years of shooting in Cuba, Mexico and Guatemala, the visual storyteller decided to turn his attention to dancers in his native Puerto Rico.

“When you think of dance, you hardly think of Latin America,” the New York-based artist told The Huffington Post, describing the impetus behind his long-term project. “You always think of Europe, Asia and the U.S. After I went to Mexico and Cuba, I saw that there’s a lot of potential there that should be rewarded.”

READ: Will Black And Brown Girls Change The Face Of Ballet In 2017?

Vianca E. Palacios @viancaepalacios #OZR_Dance | #🇵🇷💃

A post shared by Omar Z. Robles (@omarzrobles) on

Robles recruited four local ballerinas – Vianca E. Palacios, Laura Valentín, Camila M. Rosado and Courtney Stohlton – for his San Juan shoot, which shows each woman off en pointe. “Latin America is rich in music and dance ― culture in general,” he explained. “It’s within our roots. I think Latinos, we are very dramatic; we always express in very dramatic forms.” 

READ: Misty Copeland Goes To Cuba And Speaks Ballet With Other Black And Brown Dancers

Camila Maylee @_camilamaylee #OZR_Dance | #🇵🇷💃

A post shared by Omar Z. Robles (@omarzrobles) on

The expense behind the art form, which limits its reach to wealthier regions of Latin America, is a prime concern for the creative, who hopes that the newest addition to his series puts the spirit of ballet in focus on the island. “When I was in Guatemala and Cuba, where there’s not the same amount of resources, I saw a different [dance] technique. Whereas in Mexico, there’s much more money, in Cuba, there’s probably less money than even in Guatemala. But the quality of dancers [in Cuba] is outstanding ― that’s because it’s prioritized,” he said.

Take a look at Robles’ portfolio here.

READ: How One Ballerina Pirouettes Her Way From Rio To Harlem And Into Global Prominence