Grace Under Pressure
In the fall of 2013, I began collaborating with Charlottesville Ballet on a long-term project documenting the activities of the professional ballet company though the 2013-2014 season. Since then, I have been photographing auditions, classes, rehearsals, and performances, and I have spent many hours simply talking with the dancers. When I began the project, I had only a vague sense of how incredibly talented professional ballet dancers were, the athleticism and artistry that the dancers possessed, and the commitment required to keep a professional ballet company up and running in a small town like Charlottesville. As I have spent time with Charlottesville Ballet, I have come to realize just how little I understood about what it takes to be a professional dancer.
The company dancers and trainees of Charlottesville Ballet are exceedingly accomplished individuals who are entirely devoted to their art. The dancers train for hours each day, both in and outside of the studio, and because Charlottesville Ballet is a nonprofit organization in a small town, there simply is not enough money to pay the dancers a living wage. In other words, each of the dancers works a full-time job on top of their very demanding schedule of training and performances.
As an artist who practices his art “on the side,” I feel a certain kinship with the artists of Charlottesville Ballet. Their discipline, their intense striving for perfection, and their commitment to creating beautiful art inspire me on a daily basis, and I am honored to share a few moments of their lives with you.
A selection of the images can be found here.