Photo Courtesy Grace Earp.

Ballerina Artist Breaks Down Technique With a Dose of Whimsy

Though self-described "ballerina artist" Grace Earp, 17, has been drawing her whole life, she only started ballet three years ago. Earp, an Irvine, CA native, had been selling her art—mostly of cartoon princesses and animals—at conventions like San Diego Comic Con and Wondercon since she was 12. But as ballet grew to be a larger part of her life, the subject of her work shifted. "I started drawing what I was learning; a pointed foot or hyperextended leg," says Earp. Today, Earp has over 31,000 followers on Instagram for her line of drawings showing both the rigorous and fun sides of technical ballet training. Earp often chooses a single position or step like pas de chat or croisé devant and shows all the components that go into it, from "foot pointed like a dagger" to "anticipation of the next movement" to "focused mind." The dancers in her drawings are whimsically dressed, and she often incorporates pop culture elements like Wonder Woman or Disney princesses.


Drawing Courtesy Grace Earp.


Drawing Courtesy Grace Earp.

Earp's inspiration comes from a paradox that dancers are all too familiar with: it takes a lot of effort to look effortless. "My goal in drawing technical ballet moves is to show the complexity behind ballet training," says Earp. "Many times people underestimate the rigors of ballet because it's so beautiful. I play the role in saying, 'it takes a lot to be beautiful.'" She often incorporates the corrections that she receives in class. Earp begins by sketching a move; once she's satisfied with the lines, she brings it onto the computer to clean and to add color and text. Though Earp only posted her first technical drawing in March of last year, she says it "shot off from there," leading to the following that she has today. She's even turned her art into a business, selling t-shirts, prints and buttons online. Between ballet, school and drawing, Earp must be pretty busy, but that doesn't stop her from planning for the future. She hopes to expand onto YouTube, giving a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the process behind each piece.

Grace Earp at her drawing table. Photo Courtesy Earp.

Latest Posts


Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Tatiana Melendez Proves There's No One Way to Have a Ballet Career

This is Pointe's Fall 2020 cover story. Click here to purchase this issue.

Talk to anyone about rising contemporary ballerina Tatiana Melendez, and one word is bound to come up repeatedly: "Fierce." And fair enough, that's a perfectly apt way to describe the 20-year-old's stage presence, her technical prowess and her determination to succeed. But don't make the mistake of assuming that fierceness is Melendez's only (or even her most noteworthy) quality. At the core of her dancing is a beautiful versatility. She's just as much at ease when etching pure classical lines as she is when boldly throwing herself off-balance.

"Selfish choreographer that I am, I want Tatiana to stay with Complexions for all time," says her boss Dwight Rhoden, Complexions Contemporary Ballet's co-artistic director and resident choreographer. "She has a theatricality about her: When the music comes on, she gets swept away." Not too shabby for someone who thought just a few years ago that maybe ballet wasn't for her.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
iStock

Ask Amy: My Parents Want Me to Get a Job and Cut Back on Dance Classes

I am thinking about pursuing a career in ballet. However, my parents have made it clear that at some point they want me to get a job, which they acknowledge would mean possibly dropping dance, or at least not taking as many classes. I agree that getting a job is important so that I'm able to make my own money, but dropping dance classes is the exact opposite of what will get me to where I want to be. Any suggestions? —Kaia

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Laurent Liotardo (post-production by Nik Pate), Courtesy ENB

Catch English National Ballet’s Rising Stars in the Emerging Dancer Competition Livestream

The coronavirus pandemic may have postponed English National Ballet's annual Emerging Dancer competition last spring, but the show must go on—digitally! You can still watch ENB's best and brightest talent during the competition's livestream, taking place on September 22 at 7:20 pm BST (that's 2:20 pm ET). Now in its 11th year, the competition for the Emerging Dancer Award will be broadcast live from the company's East London production studio for the first time. Tickets are available for $6.99 per device and will remain available to view on demand until September 29.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks