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 Post subject: Re: Color and Racial Issues in Dance and the Theatre
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 2:22 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2001 11:01 pm
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Location: El Granada, CA, USA
She accurately and concisely explains exactly what I have seen over the years. The problem of a lack of dancers of color is no longer at the top of the companies, it is at the bottom of the ballet schools. It is a broader cultural problem. The parents are not supportive so the student doesn't stay in training.

Misty Copeland could tell us all about her difficult road to professional ballet, and her story is unfortunatly nor atypical.


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 Post subject: Re: Color and Racial Issues in Dance and the Theatre
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 11:18 am 
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Location: El Granada, CA, USA
Agreed.


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 Post subject: Re: Color and Racial Issues in Dance and the Theatre
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 5:54 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 12, 1999 12:01 am
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Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
In a related field, I recently lit a production of To Kill a Mockingbird in a small, rural state. Two of the African-American roles had to be cast out of NY because none of the very few Black actors here was interested. I can't help thinking that if the theatre had a better record of casting African-American actors in roles that were not written for a specific ethnicity, it might have been easier to cast the show locally.

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 Post subject: Re: Color and Racial Issues in Dance and the Theatre
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 1:59 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2001 11:01 pm
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Location: El Granada, CA, USA
That is a really good point. The theater I work with has the problem with casting African-American roles. But we would be happy to cast African-American actors in traditionally white roles. They simply do not come to audition. I think it's too far to drive and we don't have a lot (if any) African-American actors living in town.


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 Post subject: Re: Color and Racial Issues in Dance and the Theatre
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 2:23 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 12, 1999 12:01 am
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Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
I'm in Vermont. I could say the same thing, changing "in town" to "in state." It's getting better, though.

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 Post subject: Re: Color and Racial Issues in Dance and the Theatre
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 5:00 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2001 11:01 pm
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Location: El Granada, CA, USA
You'd think that in the "enlightened" San Francisco Bay Area, we wouldn't have this problem, but provincial attitudes know no boundaries and don't conform to arbitrary borders.


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 Post subject: Re: Color and Racial Issues in Dance and the Theatre
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 5:04 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 12, 1999 12:01 am
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Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
Well, Vermont is arguably the most liberal state in the union, but, while it's much more diverse than it used to be, it's still over 98% white.

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 Post subject: Re: Color and Racial Issues in Dance and the Theatre
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 10:31 am 
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Location: El Granada, CA, USA
This is the same complaint I heard when I was working full-time in ballet. Most companies would be more than happy to employ a talented, hard-working, non-white ballet dancer. But they just aren't auditioning. It could be a vicious cycle. They don't see faces like theirs on that stage so they don't audition. The company doesn't put faces like theirs on the stage because they aren't auditioning.


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 Post subject: Re: Color and Racial Issues in Dance and the Theatre
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 3:47 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 5:17 pm
Posts: 26
Location: Chicago,Illinois
Hurray for the Joffrey Ballet and their commitment:


http://www.joffrey.org/company/auditions


. The Joffrey Ballet is committed to being a multicultural ballet company; dancers of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds are encouraged to send audition materials. Receipt of audition materials does not guarantee a class audition.

Look at their dancers. They backup what they say.

LMTech says:
I think there are two non-negotiables in ballet: highly arched feet and long legs. If dancers of any ethnic background (including white) lack those two things, they will not progress. Misty Copeland has both.

I have to disagree with that Tech. Tina Leblanc former San Francisco ballerina had short legs and curvy hips. She wrote an article about how she had to overcome the fact that her body wasn't the "perfect ballet body."Look at former prima of the Houston ballet Lauren Anderson--a dark skinned black woman who had more of the build of a track runner than a birdlike ballerina-and that was even after she lost weight. Also you can tell from photos that her feet weren't naturally arched--pretty flat for a ballet dancer as a matter of fact. Even the former director Ben Stevenson said he was wrong he said she could not be a ballerina. Speaking of Misty Copeland, look at her photos on her website when you have a chance. The girl has an absolute hour glass figure-big busted, rounded hips, very muscular thighs. A non negotable anti-build for a ballerina in almost all cases. I've read were dancers would have surgery to alter their breast as a matter of fact as well as starve themselves. Misty also said in an article that her body wasn't "perfect" for ballet.

Its known that even though Ballanchine loved modern dancers like Judith Jameson and Katherine Dunham, he really didnt want black woman as ballerinas beause he didnt think it fit his personal image of what a ballerina should look like. Unfortunately many of his ex dancers head companies and carry this somewhat narrow vision. Peter Martins was good enough to put Aesha Ashe in solo roles while she was at NYC Ballet but didnt have the guts to make her an official solo dancer let along a principle. He pretty much told her to leave the company when she wanted to just take a break because of private issues she was going through siting he didnt see her advancing any further in the company.

It still pretty much hurts when you are told you can't do something because of your race or gender. It especially is troubling when theres proof out there that the conculsion is totally wrong! I think that most people here are open minded about the issue, but it seems like unless you experience that kind of prejudice directly you really have no idea why it's still such a big deal especially in the ballet world.


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 Post subject: Re: Color and Racial Issues in Dance and the Theatre
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:03 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
In the Guardian, Olivia Goldhill and Sarah Marsh investigate the small numbers of dancers of color in ballet companies.

Guardian


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 Post subject: Re: Color and Racial Issues in Dance and the Theatre
PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 10:45 am 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Luke Jennings responds to the questions raised in the Goldhill/Marsh article in the Guardian.

Guardian


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 Post subject: Re: Color and Racial Issues in Dance and the Theatre
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 1:22 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Dance Theatre of Harlem's artistic director, Virginia Johnson, responds on this issue in the Huffington Post.

Huffington Post


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 Post subject: Re: Color and Racial Issues in Dance and the Theatre
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 3:23 pm 
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Stereotype In Toeshoes
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/06/arts/ ... d=all&_r=0

Interesting article dealing with this topic


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 Post subject: Re: Color and Racial Issues in Dance and the Theatre
PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 11:34 am 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
The Royal Ballet's Eric Underwood discusses ballet's problems with non-white performers in the Guardian.

Guardian


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 Post subject: Re: Color and Racial Issues in Dance and the Theatre
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 7:21 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 12407
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
American Ballet Theatre launches a new program to increase diversity in partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

Rebecca Cohen reports on Project Plie in the New York Times.

NY Times


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