In the 19th century, impressionist painter Edgar Degas depicted ballet dancers in their off moments, warming up, stretching, putting on their tights and lacing up their pointe shoes. The disarming and enchanted images captured an often unseen dimension of the graceful dancers -- awkward, clumsy, off-guard -- and yet, their poise and agility remained palpable.
Fast forward a couple hundred years to photographer David Perkins, who also wanted to portray ballerinas in an unconventional light. "I tried to think of a type of project I could do," the artist explained on Bored Panda. "What had been done before? Everything had been done before. But then I realized, that was a lie. Dancers, are almost always seen performing... What you never see are dancers at home, just being themselves. So that is what I began to focus on.
"Dancers in their home stage. No lights. No studios. No hair or makeup done. Just dancers being themselves… well, sort of."
Perkin's photos show dancers in their homes, checking their email, doing the dishes, applying mascara, listening to a podcast. Of course, they often perform these routine activities in a way that most of us could only dream of, on tiptoes, mid-arabesque or contorted into a pretzel-like configuration. "Dancing is poetry with arms and legs," Charles Baudelaire once said. As Perkins' photographs illuminate, such poetry does not have an off switch.
Perkins' remarkable photos capture the ways dancers are just like us, and also, not. Their nimble bodies and perfected skills make even reading the paper an activity worth ogling. Behold, an intimate and absolutely stunning glimpse at dancers in their own homes, doing their thing.