Ballet dancers, not surprisingly described as "graceful," "delicate," "elegant," and "lithe," possess the remarkable ability to make every step, every pose, and every movement appear to be effortless and light. Their delicate figures mislead us from seeing the incredible and sometimes shocking strength these artist posses. To choose a career as a ballet dancer is to choose a life of extreme dedication, pain, and grueling training--all for a chance to perform. It's a devotion not understood by all. It is an art form that takes years to master, with training beginning as young as three; and even at a professional level, one never ceases to learn and take daily class.
This series has been a work-in-progress for the last ten years. As a former dancer I've had the opportunity to photograph students and professionals alike. My process in creating this series was to provide a glimpse of dancers in the studio setting where the hours of exhausting practice takes place. My approach in editing the series was to demonstrate the grit, the sweat, and the toughness that goes into becoming the almost mythical creature that appears to float on stage.
“You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive." --Merce Cunningham