To combat the idea that ballet is stuffy, this photo project features dancers and their doggos

A few nights ago, I attended a ballet performance in which a standard poodle named Chevy “made his theatre debut,” according to his extremely cute listing in the program. As the ballerina danced with Chevy — who was strutting across the stage on a leash as if he belonged there — the entire audience breathed a collective (and probably indecorous) “awwww.” After all, attending the ballet is often a relatively sedate affair involving dress shoes and polite clapping at appropriate times. To combat the idea of ballet as snooty high culture, photographers like to photograph ballet dancers in unusual places, and some ballerinas take to social media to show that ballet is for everyone. We love it all…but now there are dogs, and we’re on a whole new level.

Last year, St. Louis photographers Kelly Pratt Kreidich and Ian Kreidich dreamed up a project called Dancers & Dogs, which is just what it sounds like: Photographs of professional ballet dancers with their dogs. They created a popular 2018 calendar of their photographs and when they posted a video about it on Facebook, they went from 600 followers to over 63,000 in under a week. You’ll understand why when you see the pictures. Dogs of all shapes and sizes pose with ballet dancers for humorous and beautiful photographs that will definitely sweeten your Instagram feed.

"Ballet is often seen as stuffy or unapproachable, and we feel like this project helps people see the lighter side of dancers," they wrote on their website.

Kelly said dogs are naturals when it comes to making ballet more approachable. “The ballet world is often portrayed in movies and on TV as being full of drama and as, overall, having dark overtones,” she wrote in an email interview with HelloGiggles. “Having known dancers for most of my life, I know that dancers are fun and really funny people! Pairing them with dogs, who are inherently goofy and happy, just brings out dancers’ real-life personalities.”

She said she is not surprised by the response to the Dancers & Dogs project.

"I think people have a pretty universal love for dance images, even if they have no dance background themselves," she said. "And of course most people love dogs. I think the images just make people smile. They are lighthearted and fun, and we try to capture the personalities of the dancers and dogs in the images. Capturing that connection between them is the heart of the project."

Dancers & Dogs began with the St. Louis Ballet, for whom Kelly and Ian are regular photographers, but now their goal is to photograph 100 dancers with 100 dogs across the country. Currently, they are looking for professional dancers with dogs in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. They especially hope to feature rescue dogs — and we can hardly wait to see them.