Brown Girls Do Ballet

I took ballet classes when I was a little girl. I remember going to the store to buy a pink tutu. I remember lacing up my slippers. I remember doing plies at the bar, watching my legs bend in my reflection in the mirrors. I stopped after a few years, but the art form has always stayed with me. It helped shaped the way I present myself– I’m a stickler for good posture…hold your head up confidently, but relax, wear a pleasant expression, let your shoulders fall naturally slightly pulled back. I love the emotive nature of ballet, but I’ve always noticed the “whiteness” of it. Most of the fellow dancers in my class were white girls and it is seemed that the ballet industry almost prefers dancers with pale skin. I remember reading a story in which a ballet teacher says something along the lines of ballerinas should have the skin of freshly peeled apples.

Well, my skin is more like peanut butter in color. It’s brown. 

So, seeing brown-skinned ballerinas elicits a delightful little spark in me.

Judith Jamison- need I say more?

Judith Jamison- need I say more?

Besides Judith Jamison and Misty Copeland (who has been making waves), here are some other brown-skinned ballerinas that deserve your applause. They epitomize grace and dignity. 






Ingrid Silva was eight years old when she started doing ballet



Sherly Belliard first black female principal dancer in American Ballet Theater




Originally from Rochester, NY, Aesha Ash was accepted into The School of American Ballet at age 13.


Alysia Johnson enjoys ballet, African and jazz dance


And this is the glorious Judith Jamison

by Chika Oduah | January 22, 2017

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