If there is one thing we remember from Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan it's that becoming a professional ballerina is a grueling, beautiful journey. Not everyone can do it, and those who do make it become an inspiration to aspiring dancers everywhere. While we tend to picture ballerinas in tutus and elegant costumes all the time, the reality is all the dancers spend their time in tights in the studio six hours a day, if not more, perfecting their pirouette and croisé. The countless hours of training and stretching their muscles to their limits proves that ballet is not only an art, but also a sport.
And the best part is that the artistry can be appreciated by anyone. If you follow the Ballerina Project on social media, then you know exactly what we're talking about. If not, after looking through the photos below, you'll hit "follow" immediately. The project, created by photographer Dane Shitagi, is a series of photos featuring ballerinas and their craft in real-life environments like train stations, sidewalks, and even on the ledge of a roof. The dancers, who come from companies like the American Ballet Theatre (where Misty Copeland became its first African-American principal dancer) and New York City Ballet, bring their own effortless style and athleticism to the photos, and pretty much every image so far has left us in awe. Just take a look at some of the effortless snaps ahead.