10 Things Black Ballerinas Know All Too Well
1. That look of incredulity and surprise when you tell people you’re a ballerina.
Are you really shocked?! Do you SEE my calves?!
2. “You know, you should really try modern dance!”
No shade to the modern dancers, y'all are BEAST AF, but I know I look like a drunken penguin when I take modern. I'm gonna stay in my lane. I belong in pointe shoes.
3. “You need to lengthen more”
This is a shady, roundabout way of telling dancers to lose weight. I’m Black. I’m muscular. I’m already small. I’m not ever gonna be rail thin and you’re gonna have to deal with it. Plus, I can outjump every girl in this class. Have you seen my sissone?
4. That feeling when you see another Black girl in open class
You look over during adagio like “HEY GIRL!”
5. The STRUGGLE of spraying or pancaking your pointe shoes...and your flat shoes...and your tutu straps…
Romantic buns, French twists…from Giselle to the works of George Balanchine, we put our kinks and curls through so much to match up. There’s a lot going on up there. Pamper your hair after Act II (or Act III) with Miss Jessies and Mielle Organics.
7. That your shade of red lip for the recital is NOT gonna be the same as Becky’s…
Don’t have yourself or your homegirls out here looking foolish. Get right for Nutcracker and recital season.
8. The feeling you had when you Lauren Anderson presented Misty Copeland with flowers after her New York debut of Odette/Odile Swan Lake
*cries in Black Girl*
9. ...And the feeling you had when you first heard about Misty’s promotion
Black Girl Magic Everywhere
10. That no matter where you land, you are in amazing company. Raven, Debra, Lauren, Misty...and now you.
We are just the latest in a long and storied line of dancers like Carmen DeLavallade, Raven Wilkinson, Debra Austin, Robyn Gardenhire, Aesha Ash and Virginia Johnson to break the mold. To see other Brown Ballerinas in action, check out Brown Girls Do Ballet!
(PS - I also published this post on Buzzfeed! check it out!)
only and always love,