BDBB: The Black Dance and Broadway Blog

Covering black professionals and professional productions in the dance and theater worlds, plus general arts news

Dance: Michaela DePrince Talks About Diversity in Ballet and Being a Black Ballerina

Photos by Jade Young

 

Photo by Jade Young.

Photo by Jade Young.

 

 

Ever since the 2011 documentary “First Position,” ballet fans have followed the story of ballerina Michaela DePrince. DePrince is the young ballerina from Sierra Leone, who was adopted by a family in the United States and has triumphed as a classical ballerina. That fact that she has vitiligo has, so far, seemed almost inconsequential.

After a year performing with the Dance Theatre of Harlem, dePrince surprised many by leaving DTH to dance with the Dutch National Ballet.

Dance Tabs’ Marina Harss finds out the story behind that move and also shares dePrince’s insights on blacks in the ballet world and her goals as a dancer.

Among the many notable quotes is this one where dePrince talks about what is keeping more black dancers from being hired in ballet companies:

DePrince: “I think that artistic directors like the corps to look homogenous.  The corps is the backdrop to the story, a forest, a snowstorm, a flock of birds or a field of flowers.  One red poppy in a field of yellow daffodils draws the audience’s eyes to the one poppy. However, I don’t think the answer is to cull the poppy.  I think it’s to scatter more poppies about the field of daffodils. With more black ballerinas in the corps, there will inevitably be more black ballerinas rising.  I think that if these artistic directors or perhaps the boards of professional ballet companies want to draw larger more heterogeneous audiences, they need to be willing to change the look of the corps de ballet.”

To read the entire interview, follow this link:  http://dancetabs.com/2013/10/michaela-deprince-junior-company-dutch-national-ballet/

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One comment on “Dance: Michaela DePrince Talks About Diversity in Ballet and Being a Black Ballerina

  1. Pingback: A War Orphan Who Became a Ballerina | boldcorsicanflame's Blog

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