87 Dancers Traveled to IABD's Audition for Female Ballet Dancers of Color

There's been a lot of talk about the lack of diversity in classical ballet, mostly credited to the rise of Misty Copeland at American Ballet Theatre. But in reality, talking about it is just the beginning, and can only bring so much change to the field. So on Sunday, January 24, the International Association of Blacks in Dance conference invited artistic directors from companies across the country to an audition for female ballet dancers of color.

When I spoke to IABD executive director Denise Saunders Thompson in December about the audition, she wasn't totally sure how things would pan out in terms of the group's size and talent. It turns out, she had nothing to worry about. Representatives from 15 top ballet organizations came to Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Studios in Denver, Colorado, to watch 87 young dancers take class with Delores Brown and rehearse variations with Robert Garland. IABD says that each organization that attended found dancers for summer programs or company positions, though the specific results have not yet been made public.

It sounds like a great start to making American ballet look like America: Talented dancers found new opportunities, companies found talented dancers, and everyone became more involved in the discussion of minorities in classical ballet.

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Still frrom Shobana Jeyasingh's Contagion, courtesy Sadler's Wells

This Free Online Festival Showcases the Crème de la Crème of the U.K. Dance Scene

As most theaters across the world remain closed, London's contemporary dance hub Sadler's Wells and cultural broadcaster BBC Arts have come together to produce a day-long digital dance festival on January 28.

Dancing Nation will showcase 15 new and beloved works by world-class, U.K.-based companies and choreographers over three hour-long, pre-recorded segments. Highlights will include Akram Khan and Natalia Osipova performing together for the first time in Mud of Sorrow: Touch, a new work inspired by Khan's 2006 duet with Sylvie Guillem; Matthew Bourne's New Adventures' seminal 1988 work Spitfire; and Shobana Jeyasingh's timely restaging of Contagion, which explores the spread of the virus that caused the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918.

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February 2021