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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Studio Bleu students Jaxon Keller, Samantha Halker and Alia Wiggins. Photos by Chris Stark

How Turning Boards and Practice Mats Can Revolutionize Your Dance Training

When it comes to equipment, dancers don't need much—just shoes and whatever can fit in their dance bag. But between rehearsals in the studio and performances on stage, one major piece of equipment often goes overlooked—the floor.

Dancers too often find themselves warming up on the concrete or carpet backstage, or wanting to practice in a location without a proper floor. For years, Harlequin Floors has offered a solution to this problem with its innovative turning board, offering a portable and personal floor that can be flipped between marley and wood. Now, they've revolutionized portability again with their practice mat, offering dancers the option to roll up their own personal floor and sling it over their shoulders like a yoga mat.

We spoke with experts from every corner of the dance industry to see how Harlequin's products have become their everyday essentials:

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