"Not only men can do kick-boxing. Not only women can dance," says Ballerinas of Cairo's founder, Ahmed Fathy.
Cairo is not a particularly dancing-friendly city. One could easily picture a dancer showing off their moves in the shadows of Eiffel Tower or putting on a show in Times Square. But we, rightfully so, wouldn't even know how to begin to imagine that happening in our 20-million strong metropolis.
Launched in 2016, Ballerinas of Cairo set out to bring a desperately-needed art dose to our otherwise dull megalopolis. Ground-breaking ballet performances in the impoverished Faysal neighborhood, downtown Cairo, and many other areas, managed to leave us in awe and move us to suddenly realise how beautiful Cairo can be. But it's not just the beauty of the photos that left us mesmerised, it's the shocking fact that such dancers actually managed to prance through Cairo's streets in full-blown ballerina attire."When we started Ballerinas of Cairo, street art was wildly unfamiliar in Egypt," explains photographer and founder Ahmed Fathy. "It felt as though as we finally broke that norm with our project and when I realised that, I sought to take it a step further."
A step further it is, Fathy decided to collaborate with the up-and-coming Egyptian contemporary dancer Fadi Sawiris and take to the streets. The result was this stunning shoot with which Fathy attempts to blur the boundaries between art and reality, masculinity and femininity.
"Street art is an integral part of any city's cultural heritage. That's what tells the story of our city," explains Fathy. "I wanted to show that there is no such thing as an activity only for men or women. Not only men can do kick-boxing or martial arts. Not only women can dance."
Similarly, dancer Fadi Sawiris expressed his thrill to have been part of the project. "Freedom is just a mindset. We can all be free if we choose to be," says Sawiris. "I sincerely hope this shoot will push Egyptians to be comfortable to dance and truly express their individuality in public."