When we think of ballerinas, two words that come to mind are graceful and solemn.
It isn’t often that we see these professional dancers portrayed as funny or silly. It’s a thought that randomly popped into Kelly Pratt Kreidich’s head in 2017. She and her husband Ian Kreidich are both photographers who have been working with professional dancers for years, particularly the Saint Louis Ballet. Then, one day, Kelly came up with the perfect way to capture them in a whole new light.
“One day, I had a strange idea: ‘What if we did pictures of dancers, with dogs,'” Kelly explained. “On paper, it was strange and didn’t make sense.” But after thinking it over, both Kelly and Ian fell in love with the idea.
“We thought it would be a great way to show the lighter side of the dance world, since dancers are often depicted as being so serious, and sometimes even unapproachable or like fairy-tale creatures. This shows their human side, their silly side,” Kelly added.
Thus, their photo series “Dancers & Dogs” was born. The husband-and-wife team began their project in St. Louis, ultimately photographing 100 professional dancers and 100 dogs in 10 cities over the course of two and a half years.
The project turned out so well that Kelly and Ian have published a hardcover book by the same name. It’s set to be released just before Thanksgiving and contains over 200 pages of stunning photos. They will be donating a portion of the proceeds to Stray Rescue, a St. Louis animal shelter.
The dogs and dancers spend about 20 to 30 minutes getting comfortable and familiar with each other. Then, depending on the dog’s size, look, and abilities, they try out different poses until they capture the perfect images. Each session takes about an hour and a half.
Some are sweet…
…while others are simply breathtaking.
But all are unique in their own way.
To Kelly and Ian, “Dancers & Dogs celebrates the elegance, grace, and energy of dance, punctuated with playful canine joy.”
“When working with dogs, dancers can take a breath, laugh, and experience working in a world where being imperfect… is perfectly ok,” they wrote. “Dogs don’t care about perfect feet, the highest arabesque, or the right number of turns — they just want love, a good scratch on the head, and to enthusiastically join in on whatever their humans are doing.”
Watch a little snippet of how the photos come together below and share this story with other dog lovers to make them smile. You can find more photos like these on Facebook, Instagram, and on the Kreidichs’ website.
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