A new photo series explores the athleticism, strength and artistry of male ballet dancers at The Paris Opera Ballet.
Photographer Matthew Brookes shines a light on these male dancers in his new book, Les Danseurs. While male ballet dancers are often overlooked–ballet is still all about the ballerina–in photographing this group from the Paris Opera Ballet Brookes discovered not only their artistry but also their incredible strength and athleticism.
“I photographed them more like athletes than pure dancers,” Brookes said. “It wasn’t about so much the art of dance but more about the strength of dance. Their bodies are so indicative of bodies of strength and hard work.” […]
“There’s not many male ballet dancers out there that people know of, but they know a lot about female ballerinas,” Brookes said. “It was something that I hadn’t seen much of and I thought it might be an interesting project to focus on the boys.”
For his shoot, Brookes used natural light, taking the dancers “out of the common context of ballet rehearsals and performances,” as CNN put it. To inspire the photographs, Brookes asked the dancers to depict birds falling from the sky.
Brookes also spoke of the stigma often associated with boys studying ballet:
“It seems quite natural for a young girl to be a ballerina, but for boys it’s like there’s a huge stigma attached to that,” Brookes said. “These boys are incredible, incredible athletes. … It’s just a love of dance and movement.”