23 February 2015

A Beautiful, Inspiring Photo Series Of Ballerinas Juggling Dance And Motherhood

For her series ‘Balancing Acts: Three Prima Ballerinas Becoming Mothers’, photographer Lucy Gray captured the lives of three ballet dancers as they juggled their careers and the demands of motherhood.

Gray documented the dancers, who all hail from the San Francisco Ballet, in beautiful black-and-white photographs that reveal the trials and tribulations of bringing up children while dancing for a living.

Prior to embarking on her project, Gray had “negative, unfounded beliefs about ballerinas”, viewing them as “self-centered and self-destructive” beings who chain-smoke to maintain their thin figures.

Her beliefs changed when she met ballerina Katita Waldo in 1999 while shopping at a local market. Over the next 14 years, she documented Waldo’s life, as well as that of her co-workers Tina LeBlanc and Kristin Long, as they raised their children.

Motherhood is tough, and poses additional challenges for ballerinas who have to contend with the risk of injury or the possibility of being replaced while on leave, said Gray.

Ultimately, her project examines how being a mother has impacted the ballerinas, with all three dancers improving after having children.

It also gave them perspective, as LeBlanc said, “I wasn’t saving a life. I was entertaining people. I could see that after I had my son, Marinko.”

Gray has published her images into a book, which you can pre-order here.

Scroll down for some photographs.

[via Fast Company, images by Lucy Gray]