The Latest: In the Works

August 18, 2014


Scenes from
Black Ballerina. Top: Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Virginia Johnson. Bottom: Raven Wilkinson. Film stills courtesy Black Ballerina.


Though there are a handful of African-American women climbing ballet’s ranks—most famously Misty Copeland—the form still has a long way to go regarding diversity. As Delores Browne puts it so perfectly in the trailer for Frances McElroy’s documentary Black Ballerina: “I don’t want to see anymore tokens. I want to see numbers now. Open the door, they’ll walk right in. And it will be rich and it will look like America.” The film, which McElroy hopes to release in summer/fall 2015, features luminaries like Browne, Joan Myers Brown, Virginia Johnson and Raven Wilkinson sharing their early experiences with adversity during the civil rights era; Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Ashley Murphy, Charlotte Ballet’s Amanda Smith and auditioning dancer Bianca Fabré put today’s ever present struggles into perspective.