If Only Your Commute Looked Like THIS

Photo: Courtesy of Dancers Among Us.
"Dancers are storytellers. They're trained to capture passion with their bodies," New York City-based photographer Jordan Matter writes in the artist's statement for his latest project and book, Dancers Among Us.  Sure enough, his imagery renders fairytales of urban life, capturing ballerinas, contortionists, and other able-footed artists at some of the city's most iconic landmarks.

A kiss on the steps of the Public Library, a flight over Central Park — these are the moments that inspire Matter and make the Big Apple a bit more beautiful. Ahead, the photographer opens up about the making of these magical moments.
1 of 18
Photo: Courtesy of Dancers Among Us.
"This is a bridge above Grand Central. We went there looking for a city view and instead I found this amazing streetlight. I asked Karli Dinardo to hail a cab, and the wind caught her dress at just the right moment. Needless to say, not just cabs pulled over."
2 of 18
Photo: Courtesy of Dancers Among Us.
"I've always loved this subway structure outside of Bryant Park, so I asked contortionist Kazu Chan if he could fit inside the window. We only shot for 30 seconds before park security screamed bloody murder."
Advertisement
3 of 18
Photo: Courtesy of Dancers Among Us.
"Given what contortionists Nobutaka Mochimaru and Kazu Chan can do with their bodies, it seemed only fitting that the Grace Building should be their background."
4 of 18
Photo: Courtesy of Dancers Among Us.
"I absolutely love shooting in Grand Central Terminal. The problem is, security doesn't love me shooting there. So, I have to use amazingly talented dancers like Karli Dinardo, who can hit the pose every time. This shot happened in under two minutes, as I hid behind a group of tourists to camouflage myself. Ironically, it wasn't security that ended the shoot, it was a broken strap on Karli's dress."
5 of 18
Photo: Courtesy of Dancers Among Us.
"Joshua Arkey was catching a bus to Philadelphia. We had very little time, so we met at Port Authority and walked around looking for the most interesting location. We got the shot right before his bus (and security) arrived!"
6 of 18
Photo: Courtesy of Dancers Among Us.
"I don't shoot many silhouettes, but this sunset over the iconic George Washington Bridge was too tempting to resist. Jacob Speakman stripped down to a dance belt in the middle of winter for this shot, and he kept jumping off a tall ledge until we got the perfect placement of the sun."
7 of 18
Photo: Courtesy of Dancers Among Us.
"Personally, I find libraries to be very romantic, and this one in NYC is among the most beautiful. A perfect place for a kiss (between two dancers who had never met). What I didn't anticipate was the family of tourists taking a selfie."
Advertisement
8 of 18
Photo: Courtesy of Dancers Among Us.
"Claire Stallman arrived at my studio wearing a white dress. I took her to Fort Tryon Park, which is perhaps my favorite spot in NYC. As we entered, I was thrilled to see a matching tree. It was an overcast day, but the sun literally peeked through the clouds for one minute, and we were able to get this shot."
9 of 18
Photo: Courtesy of Dancers Among Us.
"Here's a photo that certainly required permission, which I received enthusiastically from the owner of the famous Carnegie Deli, though I never mentioned exactly where I planned to put the dancer. They are known for the largest pastrami sandwiches on the planet, and Tenealle Farragher has an amazing backbend, so how could I resist?"
10 of 18
Photo: Courtesy of Dancers Among Us.
"This was the first warm day after a long winter, and Central Park was predictably packed. John Heginbotham borrowed a frisbee and showed me this awesome leap. Once I found the woman in the foreground, the photo basically shot itself."
11 of 18
Photo: Courtesy of Dancers Among Us.
"This photograph changed the direction of Dancers Among Us. I showed a friend several of my earlier images featuring dancers in relatively isolated scenarios. 'Where’s the "among us?"' he asked. 'These shots need more people, more activity.' So, I called Jeffrey Smith, my original inspiration, and asked if I could photograph him again. Looking for activity, we headed straight to Times Square. When I took this image, I got chills because I understood what the project could become."
12 of 18
Photo: Courtesy of Dancers Among Us.
"Lincoln Center is one of the most recognizable locations in the world, but when it suddenly poured during a shoot, I chose to move away from the famous square and fountain. Sometimes the hidden gems are right around the corner."
Advertisement
13 of 18
Photo: Courtesy of Dancers Among Us.
"Madison Avenue. Shopping. The pure joy of excess. I asked Arianna Bickle to capture this mood in a pose, and she gave me perfection!"
14 of 18
Photo: Courtesy of Dancers Among Us.
"Stone Street is a one-block photogenic gem in the middle of the generally un-photogenic Wall Street area, ideal for an afternoon cocktail. Everything in this image is spontaneous — Michelle Joy borrowed the apron; I grabbed some drunk executives, and the beer spilled one second after the shot was taken."
15 of 18
Photo: Courtesy of Dancers Among Us.
"Parisa Khobdeh attempted nine jumps on crowded bleachers in just one minute of shooting. This is Yankee Stadium — I’m surprised we even got that many chances before security shut us down. It was pure chance that everyone else in the bleachers was sitting down!"
16 of 18
Photo: Courtesy of Dancers Among Us.
"I met Marcelo Gomes from American Ballet Theater in Union Square, but it was too cold to shoot outside. I suggested that he battle rush hour crowds in the subway. It was very lucky that he wore green pants that matched the sign, but even more amazing was the subway conductor who recognized Marcelo and turned into a gushing fan."
17 of 18
Photo: Courtesy of Dancers Among Us.
"Michael Jagger and Evita Arce are an international swing dancing sensation. They created this pose as a finale to one of their dances. When I saw it on their website, I imagined them in the rain in Times Square. To my great fortune, it was a dreary spring day when we met."
18 of 18
Photo: Courtesy of Dancers Among Us.
"None of my images are ever photoshopped, but this is the photo that causes the most disbelief. Nobody believes it's real. I can't even believe it, and I was there. All five dancers pushed up from a lying position and extended their arms, money in hand, as if they were donating to the Salvation Army. They tried it 55 times until we got this one shot."
Advertisement