Ballerinas, Uniforms

From company to company and from nation to nation, the culture of ballet is steeped in centuries of tradition, social mores, and structure. Indeed, few contemporary art forms remain as unchanged by time as the ballet. Much of that tradition is centered around notions of extreme discipline. The notion of individual style (or individuality at all, for that matter) within the ballet seems, at first, like an oxymoron. How could a member of a society built around such a richly defined notion of perfection and aesthetic uniformity express themselves? Despite the stringent structures surrounding ballet, many dancers will tell you that expressing themselves while abiding by the confines of their chosen art is paramount to their success in the industry. We followed the dancers of the American Ballet Theater and explored notions of individuality through the prisms of the dancers themselves. They candidly discuss their reverence for the traditions of ballet, and the clever and creative ways they've found to express themselves through their dress and through their movement.

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