Aesha Ash, Ballerina
Ash attended the School of American Ballet and danced professionally for 13 years. For much of her time time as a corps member of City Ballet in New York, she was the only African American woman in the company.
"The challenge of ballet inspired me, as well as the fact that there were so few women of color. I was warned of the difficulties I would face as a woman of color, and that pushed me to continue to pursue ballet. I had always lived my life wanting to dispel media stereotypes surrounding women of color starting as far back as elementary school. Pursuing a career as a ballet dancer provided a way for me to use the passion I had for dance to continue my mission. Now I continue this mission through my project."
"The Swan Dreams Project should allow people to look past society's existing barriers. Seeing images of a ballet dancer of color in inner-city communities allows others to see the beauty in people and places so often overlooked and misunderstood. There are many children with hopes, dreams and aspirations that extend beyond the limitations that society has placed upon them. Not only was it important for me to convey this to those who view the images, but also for those who observed the photo shoot itself. Beauty and grace are not defined by status or race. My hope is that The Swan Dreams Project makes this message ring loud and clear. I made each photographer aware of this message. I then put on my tutu and pointe shoes, began moving and we went from there.”
DanceEnthusiast, The Guardian, Olga Bourlin, Photograph by Renee Scott