Liel Anapolsky earns her living at an Israeli high-tech company as a user experience (UX) and conversion rate optimization (CRO) specialist.

In her spare time, she photographs ballerinas in urban settings around Tel Aviv.

The social-media popularity of her Urballerina project — just a hobby, mind you – has led to public exhibitions and sales inquiries.

Liel Anapolsky, Urballerina photographer. Photo by Ran Berkovich

“It started from my photorealism paintings,” Anapolsky tells ISRAEL21c.

“I was looking for references for my paintings in Google Images and I learned that if I want to show my paintings in exhibitions, I need to give credit to the photographers. I decided to do my own photographs so that both the photos and the paintings would be mine.”

She took a beginners’ course at Galitz Photography School in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan about three years ago. Last year, she decided to narrow her focus only to photography and launched Urballerina.

An “Urballerina” photoshoot at Habima Square, Tel Aviv. Photo by Liel Anapolsky

“I love Tel Aviv architecture and that’s why it became an urban project,” she explains.

“I like taking the ballerinas out of their natural and predictable environment and putting them together with the Bauhaus architecture and the museums of Tel Aviv.”

“Urballerina” at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Photo by Liel Anapolsky

She doesn’t shoot pictures of random dancers. Anapolsky searched for “really professional, really flexible” professionals and contacted them.

Her request was accepted by one ballerina from the Israeli Ballet and one from the Moscow Ballet, plus an Israeli gymnastics champion.

“They love to do the photo shoots,” she says. “They bring clothing from home and suggest ideas to me.”

“Urballerina” at Habima Square, Tel Aviv. Photo by Liel Anapolsky
“Urballerina” at Sarona Market, Tel Aviv. Photo by Liel Anapolsky

So far, she has taken thousands of pictures of the three women in various settings with her Canon camera. She spends a few hours a month on this activity.

“I got a lot of feedback after I posted my pictures on Facebook and Instagram,” she says. “People love it. You don’t usually see ballerinas on the street.”

This “Urballerina” shoot was done at Carmel Market, Tel Aviv.Photo by Liel Anapolsky

The Tel Aviv municipality liked and shared Urballerina pictures on its social media pages, and people started asking Anapolsky to exhibit her photos.

So far, she’s done two: at The Prince pub and at the Prima Tel Aviv Hotel.

“I am starting to get requests to do photo shoots. My boss at work asked me to do some photos for our new office and I’m really excited about it. I didn’t expect any of this.”

An “Urballerina” catching a snack at Sarona Tel Aviv. Photo by Liel Anapolsky