Racial Equality in the Ballet World

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Ballet should be a place for artists and art lovers alike to share stories, artistically express, and connect to audiences. However, there is currently only one voice being shared on stage. We cannot move forward without acknowledging that the ballet world is out of balance and needs reform. It is undeniable that ballet is a predominantly white-dominated industry. We are asking for ballet companies to take a stance AND take actionable steps towards creating an equilibrium and giving BIPOC artists equal opportunity. Ballet is becoming obsolete BECAUSE it is only telling the narrative of the white voice; we need equality to save this art form. 

There are ballet companies worldwide that have never had a black ballet dancer onstage in their entire history. This is unacceptable. Ballet companies NEED to do more than just acknowledge that there is a disparity at play. Steps need to be taken to represent more black voices on stage and off. From seeking out BIPOC choreographers and dancers, sharing the BIPOC narrative, and making the work environment an open and safe space for all. We need to see more dancers of color represented on stage and in leading roles. Dancers start their journey from as young as 5, and we are asking that all ballet schools consider their students of color. It starts at the education level and funnels outward. We must work towards living in a world where all dancers regardless of their skin color, are EQUALLY represented on our stages.

What We Are Asking of ALL Ballet Companies Worldwide:

1) To take a stance in this matter and publicly acknowledge that the BLM movement is unequivocally relevant to the ballet world.

2) To outline a clear course of action of what steps they are tangibly taking to enable BIPOC artists to be heard in a predominately white dominated industry. Seeking out choreographers and dancers of color, sharing black narratives on stage, representing all minorities on stage.

3) The ballet company work space needs to be a safe and equal environment for all. Ballet Companies must outline a plan that ensures that dancers of color are giving equal consideration for casting based on their talent and ability AS AN ARTIST, and not type casted based on the color of their skin.

4) We demand that more scholarships and grants be made available for young aspiring dancers of color so that we can eliminate this racial gap. 

TOGETHER, we can make a difference. Representing more voices on stage and off deepens the art form for ALL of us. Please share this petition on all social media platforms, tagging as many ballet companies as you can---encouraging them to make a difference!

Sincerely,

Alexandra Pullen, Tracy Jones, and the Dance Community
 

Image Credit: The company of Dance Theatre of Harlem in “Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven.” (Rachel Neville)