Since visiting Cuba for the first time I have been interested in making pictures that are quintessentially Cuban without drawing on too many instantly recognisable motifs. I found this opportunity at the the Escuela National de Ballet La Habana which is a school that teaches ballet alongside traditional subjects to Cuban and a smaller number of internationals students.
The Cuban ballet, like Cuba itself has a global reputation and renown that far exceeds its physical stature and apparent resources. Like many aspects of Cuban culture the ballet originates from somewhere else but has been honed into a uniquely Cuban tradition. I am intrigued by these cultural aspects of the ballet and hope they resonate through my portraits at the ballet school.
The ballet students strength and abilities can be astonishing, but it is their discipline and determination that is most impressive and humbling. We often see dancers in action, performing as part of a team or posing for advertising. It is therefore that I photograph the dancers individually and during quieter moments when they are not in character. I find the results interesting and more revealing. I aim to represent the sitter in an honest way and to quietly celebrate their humanity.
Photographs made between 2016 and 2019.