Sharing the struggles and celebrating the triumphs of being African American in the ballet world and beyond.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Gone But Not Forgotten

Photo by Paul Van Hoy II

As the world breathes a sigh of relief over the killing of Osama Bin Laden, and as we remember those who have lost their lives and others who continue to suffer, I am reminded of the weeks that followed September 11th.

I will never forget the sense of collective unity formed through this tragedy. I felt a bond of kinship with perfect strangers as we stood in endless lines to give blood, held hands or sang together in Union Square. Walls and stern looks so commonplace as one weaves through congested New York City sidewalk traffic were replaced by an uncharacteristic quiet, compassion and a desire to comfort those around you. Celebrity gossip and tabloid spectacle had lost its significance. Our focus shifted to family, friends, volunteering, being good neighbors and carpe diem--as we were all abruptly made aware just how short and fragile life is. It wasn't too long after we were encouraged to return back to "normalcy" when suddenly celebrities were back on the scene and we were being feed our daily dose of media junk food. Although I understood the need to lift the spirits of a distraught nation, I wished we could have used that horrible tragedy as an opportunity to shift our collective focus and mentality. I wished "normalcy" wasn't a 24 hour partisan news cycle, gossip columns, fast food, high fashion and cosmetic surgery. I missed the moments when strangers and countrymen stood in solidarity to comfort each other and focus on things that really matter like; our country, our communities, our families, and yes, our very own lives.

To all those who have lost their lives and to those who mourn them, those who bear the scars of tragedy, and to those fighting for freedom, my prayers are with you. We shall never forget!


  1. Beautifully written! I share the same thoughts of missing the sense of solidarity and taking the time to focus on what is truly important. As always, thank you for sharing Aesha!

  2. Hello--

    I read all your posts and I always want more! But what I want most is to see you dance! Do you have any footage of your performances? Also I'm wondering if you dabble in other styles or are you strictly a ballerina?? I'm a salsa and belly dancer myself.

    Stay Solid,

  3. Hello Opal,

    I often get this request, and sadly I don't have much footage of me dancing. Most of my career was spent at NYCB and we were not allowed to video.

    I love and can appreciate ALL forms of dance. My dream would be to take up Tango as well as Flamenco, but life is just a bit too busy for that right now ;-) Maybe in the near future.

  4. Hello Aesha,

    My name is Sydney and I have always been such a big fan of yours. I have known about you for a long time and I wish I would of known you had a blog sight. This article is so beautiful. I love finding other dancers who love ballet as much as I do. I am a black ballerina and I was struggling for the longest time with excepting myself being a tall, black ballet dancer. But reading your blog as put a smile on my face and has reminded me again, as ballet does everyday, why I do what I do.

    I just started learning serenade on friday at my summer intensive and I was talking to my mom about how much i just have such a love for the music. The music is why I love ballet so much. I get to show my love of music through dance. sometimes my love for it is so vast in my heart I cry, because I have found something so beautiful.

    Through the past couple of years I have worked with extreme passion at becoming the best ballerina I can be but, I always get rejected for being to tall or too different. But I just brush it off and keep working hard. I have had many rough days but I love ballet to much to quit. I am about to be a senior in high school and I have been to many ballet summer intensives and I am just going to keep pushing for one day to be that ballerina in a company and showing the audience my love for the music and this beautiful art.

  5. haha accepting :)Error from first paragraph