American Ballet Theatre principal Misty Copeland and soloist Alexandre Hammoudi. "Other people's words are very powerful," Copeland told photographers Deborah Ory and Ken Browar for their project. "You can't let them define you. Take what you think is going to help you and don't let it beat you down."
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dancers Michael Jackson Jr., background, and Sean Aaron Carmon. "I have always had long arms, which often made me embarrassed and self-conscious," Jackson said. "Dance taught me to embrace and use them to speak the words I could not say."
New York City Ballet principal Ashley Bouder. "My biggest fear is getting injured and not being able to dance the same way, even though I've had major injuries before," she said. "I'm the only dancer in the world who's missing an ACL, which is basically impossible. I'm a medical anomaly."
American Ballet Theatre principal Daniil Simkin. "Dance is, of course, comprised of many fleeting moments, but photography can address the evanescence of dance and preserve those moments that would otherwise be just a memory," Simkin said.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dancer Fana Tesfagiorgis. "I wish more people knew what it felt like to actually dance," Tesfagiorgis said. "When your most-focused mind, your most-moldable body and your truest spirit all intertwine at their highest level. It can literally feel like flying."
Lar Lubovitch Dance Company dancer Barton Cowperthwaite. "Dancers who get stuck emphasizing only the athletic aspect of dance seem to have only one note they strike repeatedly," company founder Lubovitch said. "It's the difference between yelling and singing. Barton sings."
New York City Ballet principals Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild. "I wish I had known to take care of my body when I started dancing," Peck told the photographers. "Dance is an extremely physically demanding career, and it is really important to be good to your body, because it is your instrument."
Jenelle Figgins, foreground, of the Dance Theatre of Harlem and Samantha Figgins of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. "The best part about having a twin sister in the dance world is that you have a constant source of inspiration and motivation," Jenelle said.
Bolshoi Ballet principal Artem Ovcharenko. "I believe that art has no national boundaries," Ovcharenko said. "It is important for us to be on tour to show that we, the Russian people, have the same sorrows and joys, that we are capable of the same strong emotions, and art can reveal the beauty of what we have inside us and are willing and want to share it with the world."
Boston Ballet principal Misa Kuranga. "It's not about being small, it's not about being Asian or not about having an unfortunate body for ballet," Kuranga said. "It's about how willing you are to dedicate your entire life to this art form."