An impoverished inner city is the last place that many would expect to find a ballerina.
For former professional ballet dancer Aesha Ash, growing up an inner city was all that she knew but it didn’t stop her from fulfilling her dreams.
As a young girl Aesha, who is from Rochester, New York, always dreamed of becoming a ballerina – at age 13 she was accepted into the School of American Ballet and had joined the New York City Ballet by the time she was 18.
Aesha is no longer performing, having retired in 2008, but she now wants to use her experience and career to help other African-American girls realise their dreams.
In 2011 she set up The Swan Dreams Project which aims to promote the art of ballet in these neighbourhoods in order to change stereotypes and misconceptions about black women.
She recalled how clichéd and uninspiring images of women were in her youth so she decided to take pictures of herself in a tutu all over Rochester.
Aesha adds that when she was younger an image at the School of American Ballet of the black dancer Andrea Long used to raise her spirits and she wanted to do the same for other women.