Ballet class always starts at the barre; a wooden beam that runs along the walls of the studio. You warm up...you stretch...you prepare your muscles for the center work and then, alas, the grande allegro; the biggest, most exciting part of any ballet class that I will forever remember as the part I wanted to crawl into a corner during and hide beneath a large pile of tutus until the rest of the class was finished tiring themselves with grand jetes and fouettes. I realized, I was much more interested in watching a ballerina than being one. Nothing seems quite so fantastical any more than the notion of someone being able to make something so strenuous and stressful on one's body, look perfectly effortless and astonishingly mesmerizing. It's marvelous.
In my quest for self discovery, I began to think about my 16 years in ballet; how every class started at the barre. I remember how my legs felt like jell-o after 100 releve's...how my thighs felt inflamed after fifth position plie's...fondue, developpe, dégagé, battements...all at the barre. To me, (other than the embarassment of not being able to leap without feeling like a flying stick instead of a graceful swan) barre exercises were the hardest; the most grueling. It worked you...like, really worked you. It was at any moment, I was going to melt into a lovely puddle of ballet class failure. I had to focus my vision on one point in the room and push onward. I continued to listen to the sound of the music and started to let go. The pain subsided and it all came to me like it was second nature.
Photography did not come second nature. Post precessing has been an experience all on its own. I'll probably look back on these photos in five years and marvel at how far I've come (hopefully). But, much like ballet class beginning at the barre, you have to start somewhere. You have to learn the basics...warm up...stretch. Most of all, you have to focus, listen, and then....let go. Let go of the fear, your insecurities, the pain, your control...and just, let go. That's what this series is all about; putting myself out there, pushing myself, and letting go of my fears.
Jill, Grace, and Katie are dancers with the Lafayette Ballet Theatre and were gracious enough to lend me their time and talent. Thank you.