Back again! I got a little lost in the sauce but wanted to state a few more things about this touchy topic.
Many people do not even know that Donald Williams, Eddie Shellman, Virginia Johnson and I believe Christina Johnson ALL guested with The Royal Ballet back in the late 80's.
So technically THEY were the first black dancers there.
I am hispanic/Puerto Rican. Puerto Ricans, I most recently found out, are NOT to be classified as Hispanic. Who knew? To blbrown: When I said "what about the reverse"? I meant reverse racism.
It happens. As a "latin" ballerina who looks more Italian or Indian than anything... I still encountered racism; from BOTH sides. It was frustrating for me because back in the 80's there were few of us really making it big like now. I even had one director come backstage to make sure I had more talc powder on my body than the other girls for Swan Lake (suffice to say it had been a hot, sunny summer and I was on the beach). My point is... it was horrifying to me that I was singled out for my skin 10 minutes before showtime. I didn't get into larger companies because I didn't "FIT". The truth is/was- I wasn't blonde and fair and looked different, wouldn't have fit in the corps. Yet I pressed on.
My mother always told me I was white. We argued this for many yrs. At this point with all this insanity I have no idea what to say except that I'm human and share that bond with everyone. I would say in honesty that people like Paloma would say they are Spanish or Latin, not Hispanic. South Americans have a different view on these "classifications". She might even find it insulting. As with African Americans, there is also racism among the inner groups/people of spanish decent.
I danced at DTH for 11 yrs and I have to say that I did in fact have one truly memorable moment where I was told during a rehearsal "Speak english, you're in America!".
The real truth in that is that we should be accepting of ANY dancer for ALL that they are and the joy, love and emotions they bring to us as artists without looking at "color or creed". I think Fred knew something we still have not taught to the public.