You may or may not have heard of the Ballerina Project, an ongoing series of photographs capturing elegant dancers throughout the world, in an urban context. The project, which was founded by photographer Dane Shitagi, draws inspiration from the raw atmosphere of the cities they’re shot in, creating images that expertly contrast graceful, technical poses with the hard lines and bustling roughness of the streets. Fifteen years and over 1,000 unique images in the making, this project is not your typical image of dance photography–it is a collection of portraits that communicate the heart and emotions of some very talented ballerinas.
From humble beginnings, with a traditional film camera in Honolulu, Hawaii, Shitagi has now branched into the world of digital photography and expanded his work to cities across the globe, as the project continues to grow and amass a following. Every aspect of the photos are carefully crafted and cultivated to create a series of striking and refined compositions. Many of the dancers featured have at one point or another danced for ballet companies around the world, and the quality of the dancers is apparent in the portraits.