“I don’t want to see any more tokens,” says a voice-over in its trailer. “I want to see numbers now. Open the door, they’ll walk right in. And it will be rich and it will look like America.” — Black Ballerina
An upcoming documentary about Black ballerinas is currently in progress and we are super excited about it. The documentary entitled Black Ballerina, is being released by nonprofit indie Shirley Road Productions and produced and directed by Frances McElroy.
The feature-length documentary tells the stories of Black ballerina’s of different generations who all fell in love with ballet. Joan Myers Brown, founder of Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO), Delores Browne, former principal with New York Negro Ballet and Raven Wilkinson, who performed with Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo are featured in the upcoming doc. The film also follow three young burgeoning Black ballerinas currently pursing their ballerina careers.
Black Ballerina is a story of passion, opportunity, heartbreak and triumph of the human spirit. Set in the overwhelmingly white world of classical dance, it tells the stories of several black women from different generations who fell in love with ballet. Six decades ago, while pursuing their dreams of careers in classical dance, Joan Myers Brown, Delores Browne and Raven Wilkinson confronted racism, exclusion and unequal opportunity. In 2014, three young black women also pursue careers as ballerinas. Do they find that the color of ballet has changed? If so, how? If not, why?
Black Ballerina uses the ethereal world of ballet to engage viewers in a subject that reaches far outside the art world. Through broadcast and a comprehensive educational and community outreach initiative, Black Ballerina compels viewers to think about larger issues of exclusion, equal opportunity and change.