By Linda Marx
Late modern dance pioneer Ruth St. Denis once said, “I see dance being used as communication between body and soul, to express what is too deep to find for words.”
Boca Raton photographer Silvia Pangaro couldn’t agree more.
As a young girl growing up in her native Buenos Aires, Argentina, Pangaro took dance lessons for a year and liked everything about it. She was enamored with the costumes, the flow of the fabric and the grace of the moves. But she was a timid child, and the timing wasn’t right.
“I was only 6 or 7 years old and too shy to pursue dance at that time,” said Pangaro, now 34. “I liked dancing but didn’t really discover it again until I moved to the U.S.”
In 2002, after earning a Bachelor of Administration in Argentina, Pangaro relocated to Florida. Since she liked photography as much as dance, attending a fine arts seminar seemed like a natural progression.
“I always loved the art of photography, but I had no equipment,” she said.
That changed in 2009 on her 29th birthday when she got a Nikon D5000 (digital) camera. She took fine-art photography classes at the Boca Raton Museum of Art and the Delray Beach Center for the Arts.
Pangaro developed a fascination for the work of Joe McNally, the noted Time, Life, Sports Illustrated and National Geographic photographer. He, too, had an interest in photographing world-class dancers, and Pangaro grew totally smitten with his photographs. “I loved his passion for dancers, his mastery of flash photography.”
In her pictorial journey, Pangaro found that by adding filtered light and contrast, texture and transparencies, she could create a new vision with colors, shades of gray and sepias, shadows and light in an effort to make the ordinary extraordinary. She studied posing techniques, composition and skin retouching from many instructors until she created her own style of photography, utilizing unique and creative settings.
And then Pangaro received her first dream assignment as the photographer for the Boca Ballet Theatre. Pangaro shot former BBT ballerina Ashley Hammond for a 2012 article in South Florida Opulence. (Ashley recently graduated from the University of Arizona, where she attended on a ballet scholarship.)
“I quickly fell in love with photographing dancers,” she said. “It is amazing what they do. Their training is unique, they work so hard.”
For this issue of South Florida Opulence, Pangaro arranged this romantic, fairy-tale shoot with a pair of teenaged ballerinas, Sasha Lazarus and Carla Foster, who also dance with BBT. Pangaro arranged the makeup, flowers, decor and costume ensembles of tutus from Itty Bitty Chic Boutique, and black-on-white tops from a variety of resources at Saks Fifth Ave.
Pangaro dreams of shooting with the New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Miami City Ballet and to photograph prominent professional dancers, like Russian born Daniil Simkin and Maria Kochetkova, Japanese star Misa Kuranaga and Florida native Daniel Ullbricht.