For several years now, New York-based photographer Omar Robles has dedicated his time to capturing images of graceful ballet dancers set against hard urban backdrops.
These juxtapositions in his images have contributed to the more than 136,000 followers on Robles’ Instagram account‘omarzrobles’.
Much to his delight, Robles recently received the opportunity to visit one of his dream locations to photograph her ballet dancers–Cuba.
He explained in his blog post, “Cuba has one of the top ranked ballet companies, thus why I dreamt of visiting the island for a long time.”
Even though Cuba isn’t very urbanized, Robles explained to Mashable that he was “deeply inspired by the people he encountered, and learned a great deal about their lives.”
“I was moved greatly by the way Cubans live in general. The level of poverty is pretty strong. Nevertheless, you don’t feel the amount of stress you can feel in big cities.”
“People are extremely courteous and respectful of each other. Children actually play in the streets and parks, music is played on public transport, people play chess and dominos in the street corners.”
“All this makes a beautifully convivial experience of the everyday life where you feel a genuine connection to the people surrounding you,” he said.
The ballet dancers whom Robles befriended on the island explained that while they are paid to dance professionally, their salary is not enough.
“In our society, we grow with people telling us not to pursue art under any circumstance, or that it should just be a hobby. In Cuba, artists are greatly respected and they respect themselves as well.”
See some of his images captured on this trip and view more on his Instagram account here.