It’s always been one of the most inspirational figures, both in the artistic and everyday life fields. Painter Edgar Degas was obsessed by the art of classical ballet, because to him it said something about the human condition. He was not a balletomane looking for an alternative world to escape into. Dance offered him a display in which he could find, after much searching, certain human secrets. Secrets that director Darren Aronofsky seems to have highlighted through his exhilarating and terrifying Black Swan. The actress Natalie Portman has revealed that the punishing schedule she endured for her role as a ballerina in the movie left her fearing she was going to die.
The ballet world has fought for years to counter accusations that it turns a blind eye to eating disorders. A statement agreed by all schools operating under the Department for Education’s Music and Dance Scheme reads: “It is known that, along with many athletes, dancers are at greater risk of developing eating disorders and associated medical problems, than the general population… All dance schools within the MDS scheme are committed to developing, training and nurturing healthy dancers. Schools endeavour to encourage positive attitudes towards weight control, healthy eating and body image at all times.”
That’s the reason why we try to decontextualize, together with Luis Carlos Ayala of the Colectivo de la Calle Somos — a collective of street photographers from Bogotá, Colombia —, our image of ballerina, in an attempt to give a universal role to it. Especially in this time of struggle.
“For a long time I have had a fascination for contrasting this art, ballet, with scenes and scenarios far from the cultured stage of a theater and the ‘cultured’ music with which it is usually associated,” said Luis Carlos. “I took this photo and never thought it would become real, beyond my head.”