Breaking Barriers: Being Black in Ballet

Ballet has long been a dance form both built up and stifled by tradition. The precision of the positions; the exactness of the corps de ballet; the uniformity of appearance. But what happens when that structure that has existed for centuries excludes entire groups of people, simply because of the skin with which they were born? When that desire for "perfection" is prioritized over equality and fairness for all? This is the reality faced by Black dancers and dancers of color all around the world.  

Dance Theatre of Harlem was founded by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook in 1969 at the height of the civil rights movement; it is a sanctuary for diversity and celebrates dancers of color.  Currently, our country is experiencing another civil rights movement, in which Black Lives Matter protests, demonstrations, and marches for equality have swept the streets of every city.

So what will change this time?

How will the dance world, in particular, move forward and away from what has widely been viewed as "acceptable" by its predominantly white leadership?

How will ballet companies, usually deep-rooted in biased tradition, intentionally begin to incorporate more diversity within their organizations? 

being black in ballet

We sat down with four professional, Black dancers from companies across the country, to discuss their experiences growing up in the ballet world, their thoughts on what must change, and their messages to young, aspiring Black and Brown dancers, everywhere. Hear from:

Older Post
Newer Post

Related Posts

Alonzo King LINES Ballet Summer Intensive Q&A with Casey Sellers
Alonzo King LINES Ballet Summer Intensive Q&A with Casey Sellers
Casey Sellers  Name: Casey Sellers Age: 12 Summer Intensive: Alonzo King LINES Ballet Where are you from? I live ...
Read More
Cincinnati Ballet Summer Intensive Q&A with Jodi Chung
Cincinnati Ballet Summer Intensive Q&A with Jodi Chung
Name: Jodi Chung Age: 16 Where are you from? Los Angeles, CA Where do you dance and/or train during the year? Califor...
Read More
Perspective: Interview with Master Ballet Academy Student, Elizabeth Bortz
Perspective: Interview with Master Ballet Academy Student, Elizabeth Bortz
Cover Photo: Elizabeth Bortz by Rhi Lee Photography  Where are you from? I was born in Vail, CO but raised on the isl...
Read More

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Close (esc)

Popup

Use this popup to embed a mailing list sign up form. Alternatively use it as a simple call to action with a link to a product or a page.

Age verification

By clicking enter you are verifying that you are old enough to consume alcohol.

Search

Main menu

Shopping Cart

Your cart is currently empty.
Shop now