When we first announced in December that the International Association of Blacks in Dance was hosting its inaugural ballet audition for women of color, the reactions were mixed. Readers took to social media and beyond to dialogue with the dance community. Some praised IABD's initiative. Others concluded that, unfortunately, auditions of this kind were necessary to provide opportunities for black dancers. Yet others asked if an audition for women of color was racist or overly exclusive. Regardless, all were curious. What would an audition like this look like, and what would be the outcomes?
The video below takes you inside IABD's January 24 audition, which was attended by 87 women. Although the skill and age of the dancers varies greatly, seeing that many black ballet dancers in one place is a rare and powerful sight. Several dancers of mixed race did participate, and based on this video's interviews with some of the auditionees, the spirit of inclusion was a large theme of the day. Artistic staff from more than a dozen ballet schools and companies evaluated the dancers, and they ultimately offered 25 scholarships and invited four dancers to attend their own company's auditions.
Afro Flow Yoga is a body-and-soul awakening. Created by dancer-yogini Leslie Salmon-Jones and multi-instrumentalist Jeff Jones, the dance form melds yoga with West African diasporic dance.
The majestic entrance into Sky-Mind Hall, an exquisite 3,000-square foot floor-to-ceiling-windowed studio with breathtaking views of the Playa Guiones along the Pacific Ocean, at Blue Spirit Retreat Center in Nosara, Costa Rica, recently introduced me to the practice.
PNB principal Elizabeth Murphy prepping her shoes. Photo by Lindsay Thomas, courtesy PNB
Preparing pointe shoes is a highly personal process. Each pair requires seemingly contradictory qualities—that they be supportive yet soft, that they be strong yet quiet, that they show off the foot while providing enough structure for balances. So it's no surprise that the quest to get it right is an ongoing experiment.
Three professional ballet dancers shared the secrets of their own prep routines, mistakes and challenges with Dance Magazine.