Turning Pointe portrays the lives of three prima ballerinas who, in
the peak of their careers, and inside an industry in which
motherhood is clearly discouraged, decided to have a baby. (some of
“Generally speaking, prima ballerinas start dancing when they are
around 3. By the time they are 11, they know that’s what they want to
do with their life, and by 15, they’re doing it. So by the time
they’re 25, 30, that’s all they know how to do. It’s who they are.
It’s their identity, their success, what they contribute to the
world”, says photographer Lucy Gray, who spent 14 years documenting
the lives of three prima ballerinas.
For most dancers, the crest of their careers coincides with their
childbearing years — but in such a sacrifice, discipline and
control-based profession, there is little room to consider motherhood.
Women are often discouraged from becoming mothers since going through
such a big physical change in a profession that requires being in peak
athletic shape to do the job, added to the time consuming nature of
motherhood, might easily put their careers in risk.
Furthermore, all of this occurs inside a frame in which female ballet
dancers have to fulfill drastic weight standards. According to
Pittsburgh ballerina Maria Caruso in an interview with Dance Magazine,
“dancers who don’t have the perfect body are often made to feel as
though they’re simply not working hard enough”.
“We are supposed to look like Juliet, who is 14”, told us one
ballerina recently while discussing this topic over a video-call.
Director: Clara Rodríguez Arasanz
Production Company: Dance Master Class
Head of Production: Greta Bebenroth, Caspar Hees
Post Supervisor: Benjamin Piehler