The boundaries of what the human body can do never fails to amaze. This is precisely what is demonstrated in photographer Jordan Matter’s series called Dancers Among Us. Similar to his Athletes Among Us series, Dancers Among Us showcases ballet dancers posing in actual situations like shopping, working, showering, catching the subway, or even making out.
The collection centers on themes of love, exploration, work, play, and of course, dreaming. Dancers Among Us places the joy of dance in real life, perhaps where it should be in the first place. It is a celebration just like a production number in a Hollywood musical, where the delight and bliss of living is expressed through song and dance.
While the theme is a very upbeat one, the process involved in capturing these images is just as amazing. Mind you, there was no digital manipulation, no hidden trampolines, and certainly no in camera tricks. Just a photographer, his enthusiasm, and some extremely talented dancers.
We need more of this kind of positive projects. With every image one feels lifted up, caught in the visual magic frozen by Matter’s camera.
Matter began his Dancers Among Us project by initially asking a member of the Paul Taylor Dance Company to do a few moves for him in a place where it was least expected. To pull off the stunt, the dancer dressed in a commuter’s suit and tie, and at the right moment, did a mid-air split across a Times Square subway platform. In that first shot, Matter knew he had something magical.
It was a moment frozen in time but bursting with life and fully alive in that moment. He knew then that he had to shoot a series. “Be passionate joyful euphoric intense angry present ALIVE” enthuses Matter, and it is the central message that Dancers Among Us is meant to communicate.
“What happens to this enthusiasm, this ability to be wholly present in the moment? Why are these pure moments of passion so often replaced with cynicism, boredom, and indifference? As I played with my son, I thought about creating photographs that would show the world as if through his eyes. The people in the images would be alive and in the moment, celebrating all aspects and emotions of everyday life.”
Go see the absolutely optimistic Dancers Among Us and feel the positive, contagious spirit.