There's no denying that photos of ballerinas juxtaposed with bustling city backdrops are breathtaking. But what about when those photos have a deeper, more inspiring meaning connected to real-world social issues? That's exactly what photographer Mohamed Taher seeks to capture with his Ballerinas of Cairo project, which features stunning snapshots of dancers contrasted with the rough streets of the Egyptian capital. What started as an aesthetically pleasing photography project inspired by New York's Ballerina Project has blossomed into a movement empowering Egyptian women to reclaim the streets, a public space in which they typically feel neither safe nor free to express themselves due to the alarming numbers of sexual harassment experienced by women there.
"There's a huge problem for women in Egypt streets," Taher told Upworthy. "There's a lot of sexual harassment . . . so now this was a layer of the project."
Taher created an Instagram account to share his photos with the world, often including touching stories from the talented dancers in the captions. Keep reading for our favorite shots in which the ballerinas demonstrate graceful flexibility and inspiring courage.