Stunning Photos Show the Raw Beauty of Dancer Bodies

January 19, 2016

Yes, we love dance for its glamour. We love the tutus and the tiaras, the sets, the pageantry. We love the stage versions of our favorite dancers, transformed by lights and makeup and the distance of the fourth wall.

But we’re also all about the real people behind those stage personae—the sweaty, bruised, blistered, strong, brilliant artists who work themselves to the bone every day. They’re even more impressive than their be-tutued counterparts. They’re warriors, and their dancer bodies have the battle scars to prove it.

Photographer Rick Guest totally gets that. His latest series, “What Lies Beneath,” features stripped-down images of fantastic dancers from The Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, the Richard Alston Dance Company and Wayne McGregor’s Random Dance. (To name just a few: Sarah Lamb. Marianela Nuñez. Sergei Polunin.) Stark lighting and minimal makeup and costuming mean that we see their remarkable bodies for what they really are: monuments to the never-ending struggle for perfection.

(From left) Marianela Nuñez and Eric Underwood of The Royal Ballet (Rick Guest, via)

(From left) Edward Watson and Sarah Lamb of The Royal Ballet (Rick Guest, via)

Guest’s images are on display from January 22-31 at London’s Hospital Club Gallery. But those of us who don’t live across the pond can also find them in book form, complete with a foreword from English National Ballet director and principal Tamara Rojo.

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