Marcelino Sambé in “Figure 5”

In this short film, part of a series called “Figures,” Royal Ballet principal dancer Marcelino Sambé opens up about his life as a Black, queer ballet dancer. Set over short clips of Sambé dancing in his home country of Portugal, an audio recording shares his words about struggling with his identity as a classical dancer—and […]

Why Former Dancer Erica Lynette Edwards Launched an Anti-Racism Consulting Business

In her nearly 15 years dancing with The Joffrey Ballet, Erica Lynette Edwards was known for her onstage charisma. But she was a prominent figure offstage, as well—taking part in promotional interviews, advertising campaigns and outreach initiatives, which piqued her interest in community engagement. After retiring in 2014, she spent five years as Joffrey’s director […]

Final Bow for Yellowface Accelerates Plans to Lift Up Asian Dance Talent

For five years now, Final Bow for Yellowface has been working to rid ballet of offensive Asian stereotypes. But the organization’s goals have always gone deeper than simply updating costumes or makeup. “It’s about what is Asianness onstage—who is given authority, what is considered ‘high art’? And how that translates to the daily lives of […]

Op-Ed: Let’s Stop Talking About Racism and Fat Phobia as Separate Issues

We know ballet has problems. We’re constantly hearing stories of racism endured, of gender discrimination exposed, of body shaming repudiated. But as any ballet teacher might tell you in class, perhaps we need to focus on the linking steps—the connections between these stories. Because ballet’s problems are systemic, not just individual. In particular, I think […]

Chloé Lopes Gomes Speaks Out About Racial Harassment at Staatsballett Berlin

In November, the French dancer Chloé Lopes Gomes went public with accusations of institutional racism against Staatsballett Berlin, first reported by the German magazine Der Spiegel. In the article, several anonymous dancers confirm her account. Lopes Gomes, 29, who trained in Marseille and at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, danced for the Ballet de l’Opéra de […]

How Black Dancers Regularly Confronting Racism Can Protect Their Mental Health

From dancers using their art to speak truth to power to theaters opening their doors to protesters, the dance community is mobilizing in our national reckoning with racial injustice. But what is the impact of confronting systemic racism in our dance organizations, especially for Black dancers? How does confronting racism and implicit bias regularly in […]

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