For ballerina Violetta Komyshan, the world is a stage for professional and personal moves to keep her million-plus Instagram followers on their toes.
A construction site on Bowery, the poles on the B-D train, an aisle of a Brooklyn bodega... no place is off limits for Violetta Komyshan to extend into an arabesque, or as she playfully captions it, “flexing for the ‘gram.” Since the Brooklyn-based ballerina is currently splitting her time between her home borough and dance studios scattered across the city, we suggested shooting her someplace convenient. The perfect spot: one of the city’s most instagrammable backdrops and a place Komyshan had yet to improvisationally perform, World Trade Center Transportation Hub’s main station house, the Oculus.
It was rush hour and the vast space, home to a Westfield shopping mall, was the epicenter of movement the morning we captured this moment. Unveiled in 2016, Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava’s striking creation is designed to resemble a winged dove—a fittingly poetic description that’s often applied to ballerinas.
“It feels like that’s my audience below,” Komyshan says with confidence as her foot hangs over the concourse’s highest balcony, some 150 feet in the air. Tourists and commuters look on in shock, but as a dancer with acclaimed all-female contemporary ballet company BalletNext and longtime girlfriend of Hollywood heartthrob Ansel Elgort, she’s used to people staring.
“We’ve been together for six years!” she exclaims. “But it feels like we just started dating, so that’s a good sign.”
To make it work, the power couple has a rule: “Even if I’m in season and he’s shooting a movie, every two weeks we see each other,” she says thoughtfully.
As for this summer, though, it looks like Elgort may have to trek upstate to see his love. In June, Komyshan will be performing with BalletNext at Kaatsbaan International Dance Center in the Hudson Valley.
Photography by: PHOTOGRAPHY BY ZEV STARR-TAMBOR