As Within So Without

The Power of Imagery: A dancer is promoting ballet in poor communities in the most inspiring way

Beauty On The Streets 

Aesha Ash is a retired New York City Ballet dancer. During most of her time as a dancer, she was the only woman of color. 


Ballet Dancer Aesha Ash

Growing up, Aesha remembers an image that really made an impression on her. It was an advertisement for a dancing woman of color by the School of American Ballet. It raised her spirits, and she wanted to do that for othersBallet dancer in the projects

Aesha understands the importance of imagery. 


If you go into any impoverished inner city, there is a bombardment of advertising that keeps kids from dreaming bigger. There’s no inspiration for the arts, especially dancing.  


 Most of these kids see advertisements for pharmaceuticals, tobacco, fast food, and “sexy” girls in alcohol ads on the way to school.

Ballet quote

Kids are super impressionable. The images they see should inspire them, not reinforce that a "partying" lifestyle is entirely normal and "cool." 


It's vital to reshape beliefs at a young age when it's much easier to dream bigger.   

 After researching what it would take to advertise on billboards and buses in those areas, she realized it was pretty expensive and out of her budget. She decided SHE would have to be the inspiring advertisement and set up the Swan Dream Project 

 Ballet dancer in rough neighborhood

The Swan Dream Project's mission is to bring light into the darkest of inner cities, inspiring little girls and boys to dream bigger.
Aesha ballet dancer on basket ball court

Aesha uses her image and ballet background to take photos of herself in ethnically diverse areas. 


The photos depict a beautiful contrast, yet they portray a powerful message. Beauty isn't reserved for a few. All races and socioeconomic backgrounds deserve a chance to spark a dream and have it become a reality.  


The public can purchase Aesha's photos through her website. 100% of the profits go to low socioeconomics areas promoting the arts.

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