Royal Ballet dancer releases book of behind-the-scenes photographs
Andrej Uspenski's collection reveals the Company over a period of five years.
Royal Ballet First Artist Andrej Uspenski has released a book of photographs that offers an intimate portrait of daily life with the Company. Dancers: Behind the Scenes with The Royal Ballet features many Company members as well as guest artists such as Natalia Osipova, and showcases the best of Andrej’s photography over the past five years.
The book includes a mix of over two hundred rehearsal, backstage and performance photos, reveals the unseen world of The Royal Ballet. ‘Instead of perfect pictures of dancers in perfect positions, I want to show what we do to achieve that perfection on stage,’ explains Andrej.
The book is more of a story than a collection of individual pictures. It shows a day in the life of a dancer, from daily class and rehearsals to backstage preparation and performances.’
‘For example, in one photo Melissa Hamilton is trying on different pointe shoes to find the most comfortable pair for the performance. The photo shows the spotlights and the lines on the stage, revealing the auditorium from the dancers’ perspective.’
Andrej grew up in St Petersburg and has been passionate about photography since he was a small child.
‘My father was a photographer, and he always had a camera with him. I used to work with him in our dark room at home,’ he said. ‘Of course, my career is dancing, but when I’m backstage, so many things catch my eye to take photos of.’
Andrej, who is currently performing in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, has been dancing with The Royal Ballet for over ten years.
‘I’m here all the time with access to the studios and dancers and so I know them and the productions, as well as what is most interesting from a photographic point of view,’ he explains. ‘Sometimes I dance and photograph in one night – I just ask somebody to hold the camera for me while I’m on stage!’
Dancers: Behind the scenes with The Royal Ballet is available to buy online now from the Royal Opera House Shop. Other titles currently on-sale include Darcey Bussell: A Life in Pictures and The Royal Ballet Yearbook 2012/13.