I first came across the Ballerina Project when Ruche used one of the photos in a recent blog post: If Ruche were a ballerina… (Here are some pretty ballerina-esque items from Ruche: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.)
The ballerina in the rain with the trench coat and umbrella was a concept I hadn’t seen before, and it faintly gave off an Audry Hepburn kind of vibe. It interested me, so I decided to explore a little more.
What I found was a breathtaking project and vision. Dancers, wonderful dancers, photographed in city parks, subways, alleys, empty streets, and crowded traffic. These dancers weren’t in studios, flitting and pirouetting their hearts out. Instead they were still, motionless, in poses that expressed more emotion than if the dancers were to break the illusion and move about. Dancers captured in time so you can see their essence, their soul, see past the movement and choreography and into their personal and unique beauty.
The photographer behind this project is Dane Shitagi. Originally from Honolulu, Dane began learning about film photography in his teens and eventually moved to New York City. There he assisted other photographers before striking out on his own. The Wall Street Journal did a lovely article on Dane Shitagi and his Ballerina Project earlier this year: Quiet Moments in Loud Environments
And as if I didn’t love this project enough already, I learned one more thing during my research: He shoots all his ballerinas with film. Film! *longing sigh* Oh how I miss working in the dark room at school. To be able to shoot film all the time and work in a dark room again would be amazing. He is able to shoot with film for this project because there are many labs in New York that still process film. He is so fortunate. If I had the money I would have continued shooting film outside of school. One of these days I’ll go back to film.
In this project post he includes a short film of the ballerina: First for the project… Even though the dancer is in motion, the short film still possesses the quietness and still expression he captures in his photographs.
This is such a beautiful and wonderful project. Seeing what new photo is shared each day on the project’s Facebook page is the highlight of my day. I took dance classes through my homeschool group and greatly enjoyed them. I wasn’t a sports kind of girl (and I’m still not) so dance was my exercise. Even though I didn’t continue with dance during my high school years, I still hold a great appreciation for it. Not everyone can move like that. It takes great skill and artistry to be a beautiful dancer. Dancers are both athletes and artists.
You can keep up with the Ballerina Project on Facebook, Twitter, and the main website. Nearly all the photos are available for purchase, so you have the opportunity to own a breathtaking piece of dance history!
I hope you enjoyed this week’s Monday Inspiration! There is beauty in the motion and the stillness of life. Take time to appreciate both. :)
(I listened to this song over and over while writing this blog post: Where Is My Mind by Maxence Cyrin. It’s so beautiful!)