contemporary art Cuba dance Pedro Vidal performing arts



//Pedro, who is from Brazil and now based in Spain, decided to become a photographer because of ballet, inspired by the magnificence of dance performances. But it is during his backstage work that he finds true fulfillment. Pedro shared with us an astounding set showing dancers from the Cuban National Ballet on and off stage.

Although Pedro started out like many photographers, capturing his travel impressions, it was dance photography that made him decide to develop his photography into a more serious direction. After meeting the accomplished photographer João Castellano, who gave him a dressing down and some valuable advice, Pedro trained as a photographer. “In the end of the call he told me that he saw I could do something nice, especially from what he saw in my dance pictures, and that he wouldn’t loose his time to criticize me for nothing, that he was doing that because he would have liked someone to do this for him and to help me out. He was right all the way. … That was the most helpful thing that happened to me as a photographer.” Pedro then began studying photography in Brazil and then moved to Spain to do a Master in photography. “And more than that I started to dive into the photography world and not only go around with a camera getting inspired by gear and Instagram references. Nowadays I know I still need to improve a lot, always, that photography is hard and can be frustrating lots of times, but it’s a beautiful thing, to be a photographer is to be constantly learning. I fell privileged,” he says.

Art is a lie that makes us see the truth.

Pablo Picasso

What draws you to art?

“Art is what makes us feel alive. That’s what i look for. Either by going to an exhibition or a performance, to watch a movie or listen to a song, art makes us realise things about our surroundings, about reality, about the most nonsense things, about ourselves or about everything else. That feeling of contemplation disconnected of whatever meaning of efficiency or productivity, of any measurements, only art can provoke. It’s all about feeling human, perceiving things, feeling alive. That’s the most beautiful thing about art.”

What impressed you most about the experience of photographing these dancers?

“The ballet backstage is such an interesting and unknown environment. I was in love the first time I got to see one. It’s a mixture of chaos and pureness that always ends up in something beautiful. I feel it’s a privilege to be so close and photograph such a unique environment.”

The Ballet Nacional de Cuba (Cuban National Ballet) ranks among the first rate ballet companies in the world. Its foundation dates back to 1948, when the famous dancer Alicia Alonso created a dance company, which later became the National Ballet. The company maintains a high quality standard by hand-picking talented students from all over the country, and students undergo an eight-year period of training. The Ballet has performed its classics at renowned international stages, including the Vienna State Opera, the Paris Opera, and the Scala of Milan, to name but a few.

What you see here is quite special. Pedro was able to shoot backstage and during rehearsals in Havana. He shared with us a selection of the type of ballet backstage work that he has been involved in for the past 5 years. Pedro feels that the dance world is very beautiful and that much of this beauty occurs before the show, where the dancers, choreographers, stage designers, costume makers, make-up artists, etc., develop and prepare all those amazing things we see on stage. With this work Pedro tries to reveal a bit of this hidden gem that is the backstage atmosphere and hard work that leads up to the glamour of a ballet performance.

We have also included a couple of pictures from the stage performance the way we would experience it as an audience, because they were too beautiful to leave out. If you would like to see some more of Pedro´s on stage dance photography (which we highly recommend), please visit his website.

Images may be cropped for layout. Click on the photos to see the original version.


You could also visit Pedro´s Instagram page and his website to see more of his work.