That photo above isn’t just stunning because of its composition. Take a closer look – there’s a six-week-old baby slumbering peacefully atop the piano. And that’s her mother, a prima ballerina, getting back to work. A photographer has followed three incredible dancers, over 14 years, as they’ve become mothers, and then returned to the rigours of their careers. The images are breathtaking.
Photographer Lucy Gray says she knew very little about dancers when she began her project in 1999. She simply wanted to celebrate human potential. She says, “These ballerinas are at the top of their field in a company competing on the world stage. In their field, it is very difficult and very rare to have children.”
Incredibly, Lucy says the women became better dancers after they had children. She says she loved capturing their experiences as working mothers, which was “intense and visual”.
Some of the images are visually arresting – like the mother sailing over the head of her children – something exclusive to that particular career. While other photos are poignant, tender moments that we can all relate to – either as working mums or otherwise.
Lucy has released the black and white images as a book: Balancing Acts: Three Prima Ballerinas Becoming Mothers. It’s a beautiful showcase of all it is to be a mother, albeit in the bubble that is the cut-throat world of dance. But there is something we can all relate to in these pages, both in the trials and the joys of raising children.