411: Ballerinas of Color Today



For those of you who do not know me very well, I am engaged to the most caring, wonderful person. He grew up in New Delhi, India and is new to the dance world and all of its intricacies. He took some time to share a few thoughts: 

I saw the clip that Katherine Brooks writes about in her post, published on Huffington Post on September 9th, 2016 (it can be read here). It gave me chills. I always knew that ballet was a disciplined art form but I've become more intrigued by the opportunities it poses to instill feelings of discomfort to utter rejection in young men and women.

Katherine's essay articulates how this stringent legacy manifests itself particularly in the lives of dancers of color.  She mentions Eric Underwood’s plea to dancewear companies, in his article published by BBC on March 11, 2016, to introduce more than one flesh tone into their ballet shoe inventories (the post can be read here).

If God is kind, I will one day have a child of mixed race. He or she will be beautiful, and if my fiancee has anything to do with it, utterly talented. I shudder to think that one day I will have to go to a corner pharmacy to buy a set of brown sharpies and spend countless hours, inhaling the fumes as I paint the shoe, avoiding sharpie marks on my skin.

What about the indelible marks the presence of that sharpie will have on my child? Will she turn around and ask me whether she belongs? Will that be the beginning of a long journey of trying to feel accepted within a community that is struggling to shed a shameful legacy?

This is the purpose of PointePeople. To build a community that celebrates diversity and uses dance as a way to find happiness and not to be a source that crushes it.

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